Exploring New Pathways of Sulfoquinovose degradation in the biosphere

Project: Research project (funded)Research

Project Details

Layman's description

We all need sulfur. Sulfur is an important macronutrient for all living organisms. It is all around us, we consume about 0.2g a day, but how is it metabolised? How do bacteria convert the billions of tonnes of sulphur found in green leafy plants in the form of sulfur-containing lipids? Sulfoglycolipid study is still in its infancy, with novel pathways reported each year. Given its unusual chemical structure, organisms recruit specific transport and catalytic machinery to utilise this sulfosugar as energy source. This grant will study biodegradation and circulation of a major organosulfur resource within the biogeochemical sulfur cycle - one that reflects 50% of all biological sulfur yet very little is known about. The metabolism of this reservoir of biological sulfur - Sulfoquinovose SQ - is therefore far more complex and diverse than originally envisaged, yet, despite the massive quantity and fundamental importance of SQ, it remains a poorly understood area. We therefore seek to build upon our substantial preliminary data, to dissect these new pathways, produce tools for others to use for pathway discovery, and in doing so enrich our understanding of this fundamental source of biological sulfur. The work has widespread impact, from plant science through microbial ecology, all driven by structural and biochemical understanding of enzyme and protein function.
Effective start/end date1/05/2230/04/25