Through a collaborative effort, researchers have identified a protein in soil viruses that may promote soil health. The work was enabled in part by a community data portal of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Using 5,000 images of crystalized samples cloned and synthesized by the JGI, scientists have begun the complex process of uncovering the hidden secrets of soil viruses.
In Cell Genomics, an international consortium led by researchers at the Joint Genome Institute team generated 824 new Actinobacteria genomes, which were were combined with nearly 5,000 publicly available ones and 1,100 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) reconstructed from sequenced environmental samples in a previous study.
Biosciences researchers are among the recipients of four new DOE awards. Two awards will focus on reducing carbon emissions while producing bioenergy. The other two are aimed at understanding the role of microbiomes in the biogeochemical cycling of elements like carbon.
Microbial secondary metabolites, those molecules not essential for growth yet essential for survival, may now be easier to characterize following a JGI proof-of-concept study in which researchers paired CRISPR and CRAGE technologies. CRAGE (developed by a JGI team led by Yasuo Yoshikuni) offers CRISPR a point of entry into microbes that it previously lacked. Then, by using CRISPR to knock out or activate genes, researchers at the JGI were able to monitor loss- and gain-of-function, with the analytical data showing peaks and valleys in secondary metabolites as genes are edited. The pairing proved to rapidly confirm enhanced production of 22 metabolites from six biosynthetic gene clusters. One of those was a metabolite from a previously uncharacterized biosynthetic gene cluster. Learn more on the JGI website.
Biosciences Area staff recently hosted 40 PhD students from Wageningen University in the Netherlands over two days at Emery Station East (ESE) and the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB). The group launched their two-week California tour in the Bay Area, stopping by local biotechnology companies and prominent academic research institutions. The contingent visited ESE to tour the facility, make presentations, and discuss potential collaborations. At the IGB, the students attended a day-long symposium that included short talks, tours of several user facilities, and a poster reception.