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2006 Annual Science Report

University of Washington Reporting  |  JUL 2005 – JUN 2006

Leigh Project

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis occurs in a variety of anaerobic habitats, may have played an important role on early earth, and could be a dominant metabolism on other planetary bodies. In previous years we published our genome sequence of Methanoccoccus maripaludis, a model species of hydrogenotrophic methanogen and a member of the domain Archaea. In the past year we have made considerable progress in the post-genomics of M. maripaludis. Thus, we used chemostat-grown cultures and expression arrays to learn how M. maripaludis responds to conditions in which growth is limited by the supply of hydrogen, an important electron donor in methanogenesis. A manuscript describing this work is currently in preparation. In a related project, we published two papers in the past year on the transcriptomics and proteomics of a mutant deficient in a specific hydrogenase. Our studies have also given us insight into nitrogen regulation in the Archaea. Not surprisingly, the components of the regulatory apparatus are different in this branch of life, and we have published two papers describing this apparatus in detail. Finally, we continue to collaborate with David Stahl on the study of a metabolic co-culture between a sulfate reducer and M. maripaludis.

    John Leigh
    Project Investigator
    David Stahl

    Erik Hendrickson

    Jeremy Dodsworth
    Doctoral Student

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere

    Objective 4.2
    Foundations of complex life

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 6.1
    Environmental changes and the cycling of elements by the biota, communities, and ecosystems