Redundant Function of PduA and PduJ in Bacterial Microcompartment Formation

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Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are proteinaceous organelles contained within prokaryotes used to facilitate reactions with increased efficiency, or to carry out reactions with intermediates that are harmful to the cell if released into the cytoplasm. Oftentimes, compartments are used to metabolize unique carbon sources, such as 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PD), whose metabolic pathway contains intermediates toxic to cell growth. These compartments are a kind of metabolic workshop in that they localize necessary substrates into a specific area, and they can isolate their work from the surrounding cellular noise. This could make them useful for drug delivery or self-contained synthesis reactions. My work focuses on two proteins that make up the shell forming the boundary between the microcompartment and the cytoplasm, PduA and PduJ. By manipulating the genes that code for these proteins, I have investigated how each can form a functional compartment independently of the other, meaning that they hold redundant function. To do this, I used a 1,2-PD-based assay to test the growth of individual pduA and pduJ gene knockouts, and observed no difference in growth compared to the Wild Type. Furthermore, I created a double knockout strain using genetic recombineering, and used my growth assay and fluorescence microscopy to assess disruption of microcompartment formation. No previous research has been committed to the redundant function of PduA and PduJ, and if this connection can be confirmed, it would open the door for dozens of other experiments into how the microcompartment shell can be altered to control molecular transport into/out of the microcompartment.

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  • 07/01/2019
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