Co-respiration of arsenic and selenium in phylogenetically-diverse anaerobic bacteria: towards genetic, biochemical and evolutionary understanding

Grant number: 2017/26/D/NZ1/00408
Funded by:

National Science Centre

Project description:
The project attempts to shed new light into the arsenic (As) and selenium (Se) metabolism by anaerobic bacteria. The two elements share common chemical properties and have a complex relationship with bacteria. As an interesting fact, the two elements appear to have had a major importance for bacteria during the ancient geologic period when oxygen was present in very low concentrations in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, certain geological situations and present day ecosystems favor the presence of As and Se in considerable concentrations. In such contexts, bacteria still rely heavily of these elements to ensure proper metabolic functions, growth, and reproduction. The objectives of the project are as follows: i) the identification of the enzymes and genes involved in the respiration of As and Se oxyanions, ii) understanding the regulatory mechanisms of arsenate and selenate reduction, iii) assessing the diversity of these genes and enzymes in other bacteria, and iv) clarification of elemental Se, Se(0), biosynthesis.