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Scientists show how mysterious bacteria from the Gobi Desert harvest solar energy

TEM image of Bacterium Gemmatimonas phototrophica. Credit: Jason Dean BSc. , Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Trebon

Eight years ago, a rare bacterium was discovered in Tianhu (Swan Lake) in the Gobi Desert. The new organism belongs to a rare bacterial genus called Gemmatimonas and contained bacteriochlorophyll, a pigment associated with chlorophyll found in plants. Analysis of its genome in collaboration with European and British scientists has suggested that this new bacterium performs ancient forms of photosynthesis.

The lead author, Dr. PuQian, said: Solar energy.. “

In their dissertation, it was published on February 16th. Science AdvancesThe team will show how this mysterious creature harvests Light energy.. They explain how they used electron cryo-electron microscopy collected in four different laboratories. Initially, at the University of Basel, they obtained a projection of the complex. Next, data was collected at the eBIC (Electron Bio-Imaging Center) in the diamond light source in the United Kingdom, from which a structure with a resolution of 3.4 Å was obtained. Further data collection was carried out at CEITECH in the Czech Republic. The two datasets were combined to create a 3.2 Å model, and the final data acquisition performed by Thermo Fisher Scientific yielded a 2.4 Å resolution structure.

Scientists show how mysterious bacteria from the Gobi Desert harvest solar energy

Photosynthetic complex from the bacterium Gemmatimonas phototrophica. Credit: Dr. TristanI. Croll, University of Cambridge, UK

Their study revealed the detailed structure of a photosynthetic complex containing 178 dyes bound to over 80 protein subunits.The light harvest subunits are located in two Concentric ring Around the reaction center that converts the absorbed light energy into an electric charge. “The architecture of the complex is very elegant. It’s a true masterpiece of nature,” says Dr. Michal Koblizek of Inst. Faculty of Microbiology, Czech Republic “It has not only excellent structural stability, but also excellent photoharvesting efficiency.”

The pigment in the outer ring has higher energy than the pigment in the center of the ring, so the entire arrangement acts as a funnel.The energy absorbed by the dye around the complex is transferred down the energy gradient to the center of the complex within a few picoseconds, where it is converted to metabolism. energy..


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For more information:
Pu Qian et al, 2.4 Å structure of double ring Gemmatimonas phototrophica photo system, Science Advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abk3139

Quote: Scientists show how mysterious bacteria from the Gobi Desert harvest solar energy (February 17, 2022) https://phys.org/news/2022-02-scientists Obtained February 17, 2022 from -enigmatic-bacterium-gobi-harvests.html

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Scientists show how mysterious bacteria from the Gobi Desert harvest solar energy

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