PUBLIC TALK: Adventures In Arctic Seas and Metagenomes- The Search for Cold Adapted Enzymes
|Adventures In Arctic Seas and Metagenomes- The Search for Cold Adapted Enzymes
Organisms living in cold environments must possess enzymes which function at lower temperatures in order to survive. Humans have found uses for these enzymes in the food and processing industries, domestic products and for biotechnological applications. This, along with their potential for bioremediation and renewable energy production has driven efforts to discover novel cold adapted enzymes. At the University of Troms° 300 km north of the Arctic circle we have access to remote cold environments, and our samples comprise a variety of marine biota and sediments collected from the polar regions. Here I will present a strategy for the discovery of new enzymes from metagenomic DNA- that is the DNA complement of a given environment rather than an individual organism. I will discuss the methods we are using to produce enzymes from this DNA giving an example of a protein that I am currently characterising. This example illustrates the complexity of investigating proteins from unknown sources, and how research often gives us answers we do not expect.
Adele Kim Williamson is a postdoctoral fellow in the MARZymes project, where her focus is the recombinant expression and structural and functional characterisation of novel enzymes from our metagenomic libraries. Currently she is working with a number of enzymes which may have functions in cell wall degradation, as well as putative DNA ligase and nitrilase proteins. Before coming to Norway, she completed a doctorate at the Research School of Biological Sciences in the Australian National University in 2007, and then worked as a post doctoral researcher at the Umeň Plant Sciences Centre in Sweden until early 2010. Her previous work involved structural and functional characterisation of subunits from the Photosystem II complex, with a particular interest in comparisons between thermophilic and mesophilic homologues. Adele is originally from New Zealand and took her BSc. in biochemistry at the University of Canterbury.
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