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Proteomic Insights Into Microbial Metabolism In Biogeochemistry And Bioengineering

Department &  Center Events
Wolman Seminar

Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
Mergenthaler 111
Past Event

Jake Waldbauer, University of Chicago

Proteomics (mass spectrometry-based analysis of proteins) is a useful tool in both biogeochemistry and bioengineering, particularly because it interrogates metabolism at the level of the molecular machines that mediate enzymatic catalysis and cell-environment interactions. My group uses proteomics to investigate how microorganisms allocate available nutrient resources among metabolic functions, especially those involved in carbon cycling, and how those allocations shift in response to environmental perturbations. Here I will present two case studies illustrating what we can learn from microbial proteomics about nutrient and carbon cycling in natural habitats and engineering contexts. First, novel isotope-tracking proteomics techniques documented nitrogen allocation patterns in a Pacific Ocean surface-water community, revealing different metabolic bases for N stress among coexisting members of this oligotrophic habitat. Second, we combined proteomics with metabolomics and flux analysis to explore metabolic regulation during bacterial catabolism of plastic- and lignin-derived aromatic compounds, with implications for soil carbon cycling and bioprocessing of plastic wastes.