Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New candidate for raw material synthesis through gene transfer

03.07.2020

"Natural gene transfer" into a multicellular cyanobacterium: Phormidium lacuna lends itself to fun-damental research and biotechnical applications

Cyanobacteria hardly need any nutrients and use the energy of sunlight. Bathers are familiar with these microorganisms - often incorrectly called "blue-green algae" - as they often occur in waters. A group of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has discovered that the multicellular species Phormidium lacuna can be genetically modified by natural transformation and could thus produce substances such as ethanol or hydrogen.


Cyanobacteria producing ethanol or hydrogen - natural gene transfer could make this possible.

Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT

They present their results in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0234440).

During transformation, a cell is genetically modified by adding genetic material (DNA). This process, which occurs frequently in nature, can be used to introduce specific DNA into a cell and endow it with a certain property.

"Natural transformation means that DNA is taken up by cells without any further aids," says Professor Tilman Lamparter, professor at the Botanical Institute - General Botany research field at the KIT. The procedure is simple:

It works without conjugation - the connection with another cell - and without electroperforation - which would make the cell wall permeable. Since natural transformation has so far only been successful in unicellular cyanobacteria, it was assumed that it was an exclusive feature of unicellular species.

The findings of the KIT research group show that the natural competence to take up extracellular DNA occurs more frequently in cyanobacteria than previously thought. In the online scientific publication PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science), they report for the first time on gene transfer for the Phormidium lacuna genus and on the natural transformation of a multicellular, filamentous cyanobacterium.

Contribution to Bio-Economy: Replacing Fossil Resources

For natural transformation, the cells must be in a physiological state, known as natural competence, so that the recipient cell can actively transport DNA into the cytoplasm. The scientists took advantage of the natural transformation and integrated new genetic information into the genome of Phormidium lacuna.

The multicellular cyanobacteria, which obtain their energy from sunlight, offer the advantage of forming a biofilm and of growing in a high cell density that can be quickly removed. KIT scientists isolated several strains of this filamentously growing species from the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and sequenced the genome of one strain.

The technique established by the researchers to modify multicellular cyanobacteria by introducing genetic information opens up a wide range of possibilities for basic research and possible applications.

"With the help of natural transformation, we have already created numerous so-called knockout mutants, i.e. we succeeded in switching off certain genes and thus identified their function," says Lamparter. A possible future-oriented application would be to synthesize ethanol, hydrogen or lactate as well as other bioproducts in the cells and thus contribute to the bio-economy and to the change from an oil-based economy to a market economy based on sustainable resources. "Our vision is to use this technology to replace fossil resources," says the biologist.

###

Original publication:

Nies F, Mielke M, Pochert J, Lamparter T (2020) Natural transformation of the filamentous cyanobacterium Phormidium lacuna. PLoS ONE 15(6): e0234440. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234440

For further information, please contact: Margarete Lehné, Press Officer, Phone: +49 721 608-21150, E-Mail: margarete.lehne@kit.edu

Being "the Research University in the Helmholtz Association," KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 24,400 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

This press release is available on the internet at http://www.sek.kit.edu/presse.php

The photos in the best quality available to us may be downloaded under http://www.kit.edu or requested by mail to presse@kit.edu or phone +49 721 608-21105. The photos may be used in the context given above exclusively.

Media Contact

Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-21105

 @KITKarlsruhe

http://www.kit.edu/index.php 

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2020_051_new-candidate-for-raw-material-synthesis-through-gene-transfer.php

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study clarifies kinship of important plant group
05.08.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Human cell-based test systems for toxicity studies: Ready-to-use Toxicity Assay (hiPSC)
05.08.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Manifestation of quantum distance in flat band materials

05.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery shows promise for treating Huntington's Disease

05.08.2020 | Health and Medicine

Rock debris protects glaciers from climate change more than previously known

05.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>