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Xu, Y, Guerra TL, Li Z, Ludwig M, Dismukes CG, Bryant DA.  2013.  Altered carbohydrate metabolism in glycogen synthase mutants of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002: Cell factories for soluble sugars.. Metabolic engineering. 16:56-67. Abstract
Glycogen and compatible solutes are the major polymeric and soluble carbohydrates in cyanobacteria and function as energy reserves and osmoprotectants, respectively. Glycogen synthase null mutants (glgA-I glgA-II) were constructed in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Under standard conditions the double mutant produced no glycogen and more soluble sugars. When grown under hypersaline conditions, the glgA-I glgA-II mutant accumulated 1.8-fold more soluble sugars (sucrose and glucosylglycer-(ol/ate)) than WT, and these cells spontaneously excreted soluble sugars into the medium at high levels without the need for additional transporters. An average of 27% more soluble sugars was released from the glgA-I glgA-II mutant than WT by hypo-osmotic shock. Extracellular vesicles budding from the outer membrane were observed by transmission electron microscopy in glgA-I glgA-II cells grown under hypersaline conditions. The glgA-I glgA-II mutant serves as a starting point for developing cell factories for photosynthetic production and excretion of sugars.
Dismukes, GC, Carrieri D, Bennette N, Ananyev GM, Posewitz MC.  2008.  Aquatic phototrophs: efficient alternatives to land-based crops for biofuels. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 19:235-40. AbstractWebsite
To mitigate some of the potentially deleterious environmental and agricultural consequences associated with current land-based-biofuel feedstocks, we propose the use of biofuels derived from aquatic microbial oxygenic photoautotrophs (AMOPs), more commonly known as cyanobacteria, algae, and diatoms. Herein we review their demonstrated productivity in mass culturing and aspects of their physiology that are particularly attractive for integration into renewable biofuel applications. Compared with terrestrial crops, AMOPs are inherently more efficient solar collectors, use less or no land, can be converted to liquid fuels using simpler technologies than cellulose, and offer secondary uses that fossil fuels do not provide. AMOPs pose a new set of technological challenges if they are to contribute as biofuel feedstocks.
Sheats, JE, Micai K, Bleier S, Storey D, Sellito E, Carrell TG, Maneiro M, Bourles E, Dismukes GC, Rheingold AL et al..  2002.  Assembly of manganese-oxo clusters in solution as models for the photosynthetic oxygen-evolving complex. Macromolecular Symposia. 186:29-34.Website
Carrieri, D, Momot D, Brasg IA, Ananyev GM, Lenz O, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2011.  Boosting autofermentation rates and product yields with sodium stress cycling: Application to renewable fuel production by cyanobacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.. :AEM.00975-10%U Abstract
Sodium concentration cycling was examined as a new strategy for redistributing carbon storage products and increasing autofermentative product yields following photosynthetic carbon fixation in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima. The salt-tolerant hyper-carbonate strain CS-328 was grown in a medium containing 0.24 to 1.24 M sodium, resulting in increased biosynthesis of soluble carbohydrates up to 50% of the dry weight at 1.24 M sodium. Hypoionic stress during dark anaerobic metabolism (autofermentation) was induced by resuspending filaments in low sodium (bi)carbonate buffer (0.21 M), which resulted in accelerated autofermentation rates. For cells grown in 1.24 M NaCl, the fermentative yields of acetate, ethanol and formate increase substantially to 0.75, 1.56 and 1.54 mmol/(gDW*day), respectively (36, 121, and 6-fold increases in rate relative to cells grown in 0.24 M NaCl). Catabolism of endogenous carbohydrate increased by approximately 2-fold upon hypoionic stress. For cultures grown at all salt concentrations, hydrogen was produced but its yield did not correlate with increased catabolism of soluble carbohydrates. Instead, ethanol excretion becomes a preferred route for fermentative NADH reoxidation together with intraceullar accumulation of reduced products of acetyl-CoA formation when cells are hypoionically stressed. In the absence of hypoionic stress, hydrogen production is a major beneficial pathway for NAD+ regeneration without wasting carbon intermediates such as ethanol derived from acetyl-CoA. This switch presumably improves the overall cellular economy by retaining carbon within the cell until aerobic conditions return and the acetyl unit can be used for biosynthesis or oxidized via respiration for much greater energy return.
Bartlett, JE, Baranov SV, Ananyev GM, Dismukes GC.  2008.  Calcium controls the assembly of the photosynthetic water-oxidizing complex: a cadmium(II) inorganic mutant of the Mn4Ca core. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 363:1253-1261. AbstractWebsite
Perturbation of the catalytic inorganic core (Mn4Ca1OxCly) of the photosystem II-water-oxidizing complex (PSII-WOC) isolated from spinach is examined by substitution of Ca2+ with cadmium(II) during core assembly. Cd2+ inhibits the yield of reconstitution of O-2-evolution activity, called photoactivation, starting from the free inorganic cofactors and the cofactor-depleted apo-WOC-PSII complex. Ca2+ affinity increases following photooxidation of the first Mn2+ to Mn3+ bound to the 'high-affinity' site. Ca2+ binding occurs in the dark and is the slowest overall step of photoactivation (IM1/IM*(1) -> step). Cd2+ competitively blocks the binding of Ca2+ to its functional site with 10-to 30-fold higher affinity, but does not influence the binding of Mn2+ to its high-affinity site. By contrast, even 10-fold higher concentrations of Cd2+ have no effect on O-2-evolution activity in intact PSII-WOC. Paradoxically, Cd2+ both inhibits photoactivation yield, while accelerating the rate of photoassembly of active centres 10-fold relative to Ca2+. Cd2+ increases the kinetic stability of the photooxidized Mn3+ assembly intermediate(s) by twofold (mean lifetime for dark decay). The rate data provide evidence that Cd2+ binding following photooxidation of the first Mn3+, IM1/IM*(1), causes three outcomes: (i) a longer intermediate lifetime that slows IM1 decay to IM0 by charge recombination, (ii) 10-fold higher probability of attaining the degrees of freedom (either or both cofactor and protein d.f.) needed to bind and photooxidize the remaining 3 Mn2+ that form the functional cluster, and (iii) increased lability of Cd2+ following Mn-4 cluster assembly results in (re) exchange of Cd2+ by Ca2+ which restores active O-2-evolving centres. Prior EPR spectroscopic data provide evidence for an oxo-bridged assembly intermediate, Mn3+ (mu-O2-) Ca2+, for IM*(1). We postulate an analogous inhibited intermediate with Cd2+ replacing Ca2+.
Dasgupta, J, Tyryshkin AM, Kozlov YN, Klimov VV, Dismukes CG.  2006.  Carbonate Complexation of Mn2+ in the Aqueous Phase:  Redox Behavior and Ligand Binding Modes by Electrochemistry and EPR Spectroscopy. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 110:5099-5111. AbstractWebsite
McNeely, K, Xu Y, Ananyev GM, Bennette N, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2011.  Characterization of a nifJ Mutant of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 Lacking Pyruvate:Ferredoxin Oxidoreductase. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.. :AEM.02792-10. AbstractWebsite
The nifJ gene codes for pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, which reduces ferredoxin during fermentative catabolism of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA. A nifJ knock-out mutant was constructed that lacks one of two pathways for the oxidation of pyruvate in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Remarkably, the photoautotrophic growth rate of this mutant increased by 20% relative to wild type (WT) under light-dark cycling. This is attributed to an increase in the quantum yield of PSII charge separation as measured by photosynthetic electron turnover efficiency using fast repetition rate fluorometry (Fv/Fm). During autofermentation the excretion of acetate and lactate products by nifJ mutant cells decreased 2-fold and 1.2-fold, respectively. Although nifJ cells displayed higher in vitro hydrogenase activity than WT, H2 production in vivo was 1.3-fold lower than WT. Inhibition of acetate-CoA ligase and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex by glycerol eliminated acetate production, with resulting loss of reductant and a 3-fold decrease in H2 production by nifJ cells compared to WT. Continuous electrochemical detection of dissolved H2 revealed two temporally resolved phases of H2 production during autofermentation, a minor first phase and a major second phase. The first phase was attributed to reduction of ferredoxin because it decreased 2-fold in nifJ cells. The second phase was attributed to glycolytic NADH production and decreased 20% in nifJ cells. Measurement of the intracellular NADH/NAD+ ratio revealed that the reductant generated by PFOR contributing to the first phase of H2 production was not in equilibrium with bulk NADH/NAD+, while the second phase corresponded to the equilibrium NADH-mediated process.
Dismukes, CG, McNeely K, Robinson DM, Sheats JE.  2011.  A Co4O4 "cubane" water oxidation catalyst inspired by photosynthesis.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133(30):11446-9. Abstract
Herein we describe the molecular Co(4)O(4) cubane complex Co(4)O(4)(OAc)(4)(py)(4) (1), which catalyzes efficient water oxidizing activity when powered by a standard photochemical oxidation source or electrochemical oxidation. The pH dependence of catalysis, the turnover frequency, and in situ monitoring of catalytic species have revealed the intrinsic capabilities of this core type. The catalytic activity of complex 1 and analogous Mn(4)O(4) cubane complexes is attributed to the cubical core topology, which is analogous to that of nature's water oxidation catalyst, a cubical CaMn(4)O(5) cluster.
McCool, NS, Robinson DM, Sheats JE, Dismukes CG.  2011.  A Co4O4 “Cubane” Water Oxidation Catalyst Inspired by Photosynthesis. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133:11446-11449. AbstractWebsite
Krishnan, A, Zhang S, Liu Y, Tadmori KA, Bryant DA, Dismukes GC.  2016.  Consequences of ccmR deletion on respiration, fermentation and H2 metabolism in cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. Biotechnol Bioeng. Abstract
CcmR, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator, represses the genes encoding components of the high-affinity carbon concentration mechanism in cyanobacteria. Unexpectedly, deletion of the ccmR gene was found to alter the expression of the terminal oxidase and fermentative genes, especially the hydrogenase operon in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. Consistent with the transcriptomic data, the deletion strain exhibits flux increases (30-50%) in both aerobic O2 respiration and anaerobic H2 evolution. To understand how CcmR influences anaerobic metabolism, the kinetics of autofermentation were investigated following photoautotrophic growth. The autofermentative H2 yield increased by 50% in the CcmR deletion strain compared to the wild-type strain, and increased to 160% (within 20 h) upon continuous removal of H2 from the medium ("milking") to suppress uptake. Consistent with this greater reductant flux to H2 , the mutant excreted less lactate during autofermentation (NAD(P)H consuming pathway). To enhance the rate of NADH production during anaerobic metabolism, the ccmR mutant was engineered to introduce GAPDH overexpression (more NADH production) and LDH deletion (less NADH consumption). The triple mutant (ccmR deletion + GAPDH overexpression + LDH deletion) showed 6-8-fold greater H2 yield than the WT strain, achieving conversion rates of 17 nmol 108 cells-1 h-1 and yield of 0.87 H2 per glucose equivalent (8.9% theoretical maximum). Simultaneous monitoring of the intracellular NAD(P)H concentration and H2 production rate by these mutants reveals an inverse correspondence between these variables indicating hydrogenase-dependent H2 production as a major sink for consuming NAD(P)H in preference to excretion of reduced carbon as lactate during fermentation.
Carrieri, D, Ananyev GM, Lenz O, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2011.  Contribution of a sodium ion gradient to energy conservation during fermentation in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima CS-328.. Applied and environmental microbiology. 77(20):7185-94. Abstract
Sodium gradients in cyanobacteria play an important role in energy storage under photoautotrophic conditions but have not been well studied during autofermentative metabolism under the dark, anoxic conditions widely used to produce precursors to fuels. Here we demonstrate significant stress-induced acceleration of autofermentation of photosynthetically generated carbohydrates (glycogen and sugars) to form excreted organic acids, alcohols, and hydrogen gas by the halophilic, alkalophilic cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima CS-328. When suspended in potassium versus sodium phosphate buffers at the start of autofermentation to remove the sodium ion gradient, photoautotrophically grown cells catabolized more intracellular carbohydrates while producing 67% higher yields of hydrogen, acetate, and ethanol (and significant amounts of lactate) as fermentative products. A comparable acceleration of fermentative carbohydrate catabolism occurred upon dissipating the sodium gradient via addition of the sodium-channel blocker quinidine or the sodium-ionophore monensin but not upon dissipating the proton gradient with the proton-ionophore dinitrophenol (DNP). The data demonstrate that intracellular energy is stored via a sodium gradient during autofermentative metabolism and that, when this gradient is blocked, the blockage is compensated by increased energy conversion via carbohydrate catabolism.
Dismukes, CG, Brimblecombe R, Felton GAN, Pryadun RS, Sheats JE, Spiccia L, Swiegers GF.  2009.  Development of Bioinspired Mn4O4−Cubane Water Oxidation Catalysts: Lessons from Photosynthesis. Accounts of Chemical Research. 42:1935-1943. AbstractWebsite
Pushkar, Y, Long X, Glatzel P, Brudvig G W, Dismukes  CG, Collins T J, Yachandra V K, Yano J, Bergmann U.  2010.  Direct Detection of Oxygen Ligation to the Mn4Ca Cluster of Photosystem II by X-ray Emission Spectroscopy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 49:800-803.Website
Burrows, EH, Bennette NB, Carrieri D, Dixon JL, Brinker A, Frada M, Bakdassabim S N, Falkowski PG, Dismukes GC.  2012.  Dynamics of Lipid Biosynthesis and Redistribution in the Marine Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum under Nitrate Deprivation. Bioenerg. Res. 5:876-885. Abstract
One approach to achieve continuous overproduction of lipids in microalgal “cell factories” relies upon depletion or removal of nutrients that act as competing electron sinks (e.g., nitrate and sulfate). However, this strategy can only be effective for bioenergy applications if lipid is synthesized primarily de novo (from CO2 fixation) rather than from the breakdown and interconversion of essential cellular components. In the marine diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, it was determined, using 13C-bicarbonate, that cell growth in nitrate (NO 3 − )-deprived cultures resulted predominantly in de novo lipid synthesis (60 % over 3 days), and this new lipid consisted primarily of triacylglycerides (TAGs). Nearly complete preservation of 12C occurred in all previously existing TAGs in NO 3 − -deprived cultures and thus, further TAG accumulation would not be expected from inhibition of TAG lipolysis. In contrast, both high turnover and depletion of membrane lipids, phosphatidylcholines (PCs), were observed in NO 3 − -deprived cultures (both the headgroups and fatty acid chains), while less turnover was observed in NO 3 − replete cultures. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry mass spectra and 13C labeling patterns of PC headgroups provided insight into lipid synthesis in marine diatoms, including suggestion of an internal pool of glycine betaine that feeds choline synthesis. It was also observed that 16C fatty acid chains incorporated into TAGs and PCs contained an average of 14 13C carbons, indicating substantial incorporation of 13C-bicarbonate into fatty acid chains under both nutrient states.
Brimblecombe, R, Bond AM, Dismukes CG, Swiegers GF, Spiccia L.  2009.  Electrochemical investigation of Mn4O4-cubane water-oxidizing clusters. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 11:6441-6449. AbstractWebsite
High valence states in manganese clusters are a key feature of the function of one of the most important catalysts found in nature, the water-oxidizing complex of photosystem II. We describe a detailed electrochemical investigation of two bio-inspired manganese-oxo complexes, [Mn4O4L6] (L = diphenylphosphinate (1) and bis(p-methoxyphenyl)phosphinate (2)), in solution, attached to an electrode surface and suspended within a Nafion film. These complexes contain a cubic [Mn4O4]6+ core stabilized by phosphinate ligands. They have previously been shown to be active and durable photocatalysts for the oxidation of water to dioxygen. A comparison of catalytic photocurrent generated by films deposited by two methods of electrode immobilization reveals that doping of the catalyst in Nafion results in higher photocurrent than was observed for a solid layer of cubane on an electrode surface. In dichloromethane solution, and under conditions of cyclic voltammetry, the one-electron oxidation processes 1/1+ and 2/2+ were found to be reversible and quasi-reversible, respectively. Some decomposition of 1+ and 2+ was detected on the longer timescale of bulk electrolysis. Both compounds also undergo a two-electron, chemically irreversible reduction in dichloromethane, with a mechanism that is dependent on scan rate and influenced by the presence of a proton donor. When immersed in aqueous electrolyte, the reduction process exhibits a limited level of chemical reversibility. These data provide insights into the catalytic operation of these molecules during photo-assisted electrolysis of water and highlight the importance of the strongly electron-donating ligand environment about the manganese ions in the ability of the cubanes to photocatalyze water oxidation at low overpotentials.
Vinyard, DJ, Gimpel J, Ananyev GM, Mayfield SP, Dismukes CG.  2014.  Engineered Photosystem II reaction centers optimize photochemistry versus photoprotection at different solar intensities.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 136(10):4048-55. Abstract
The D1 protein of Photosystem II (PSII) provides most of the ligating amino acid residues for the Mn4CaO5 water-oxidizing complex (WOC) and half of the reaction center cofactors, and it is present as two isoforms in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. These isoforms, D1:1 and D1:2, confer functional advantages for photosynthetic growth at low and high light intensities, respectively. D1:1, D1:2, and seven point mutations in the D1:2 background that are native to D1:1 were expressed in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We used these nine strains to show that those strains that confer a higher yield of PSII charge separation under light-limiting conditions (where charge recombination is significant) have less efficient photochemical turnover, measured in terms of both a lower WOC turnover probability and a longer WOC cycle period. Conversely, these same strains under light saturation (where charge recombination does not compete) confer a correspondingly faster O2 evolution rate and greater protection against photoinhibition. Taken together, the data clearly establish that PSII primary charge separation is a trade-off between photochemical productivity (water oxidation and plastoquinone reduction) and charge recombination (photoprotection). These trade-offs add up to a significant growth advantage for the two natural isoforms. These insights provide fundamental design principles for engineering of PSII reaction centers with optimal photochemical efficiencies for growth at low versus high light intensities.
Ananyev, GM, Skizim NJ, Dismukes CG.  2012.  Enhancing biological hydrogen production from cyanobacteria by removal of excreted products.. Journal of biotechnology. 162(1):97-104. Abstract
Hydrogen is produced by a [NiFe]-hydrogenase in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima during autofermentation of photosynthetically accumulated glycogen under dark anaerobic conditions. Herein we show that elimination of H₂ backpressure by continuous H₂ removal ("milking") can significantly increase the yield of H₂ in this strain. We show that "milking" by continuous selective consumption of H₂ using an electrochemical cell produces the maximum increase in H₂ yield (11-fold) and H₂ rate (3.4-fold), which is considerably larger than through "milking" by non-selective dilution of the biomass in media (increases H₂ yield 3.7-fold and rate 3.1-fold). Exhaustive autofermentation under electrochemical milking conditions consumes >98% of glycogen and 27.6% of biomass over 7-8 days and extracts 39% of the energy content in glycogen as H₂. Non-selective dilution stimulates H₂ production by shifting intracellular equilibria competing for NADH from excreted products and terminal electron sinks into H₂ production. Adding a mixture of the carbon fermentative products shifts the equilibria towards reactants, resulting in increased intracellular NADH and an increased H₂ yield (1.4-fold). H₂ production is sustained for a period of time up to 7days, after which the PSII activity of the cells decreases by 80-90%, but can be restored by regeneration under photoautotrophic growth.
Carrell TG, Smith PF, Dennes J, Dismukes CG.  2014.  Entropy and enthalpy contributions to the kinetics of proton coupled electron transfer to the Mn4O4(O2PPh2)6 cubane.. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP. 16(24):11843-7. Abstract
The dependence of rate, entropy of activation, and ((1)H/(2)H) kinetic isotope effect for H-atom transfer from a series of p-substituted phenols to cubane Mn4O4L6 (L = O2PPh2) () reveals the activation energy to form the transition state is proportional to the phenolic O-H bond dissociation energy. New implications for water oxidation and charge recombination in photosystem II are described.
Khorobrykh, A, Dasgupta J, Kolling DRJ, Terentyev V, Klimov VV, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Evolutionary origins of the photosynthetic water oxidation cluster: bicarbonate permits Mn(2+) photo-oxidation by anoxygenic bacterial reaction centers.. Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology. 14(14):1725-31. Abstract
The enzyme that catalyzes water oxidation in oxygenic photosynthesis contains an inorganic cluster (Mn4 CaO5 ) that is universally conserved in all photosystem II (PSII) protein complexes. Its hypothesized precursor is an anoxygenic photobacterium containing a type 2 reaction center as photo-oxidant (bRC2, iron-quinone type). Here we provide the first experimental evidence that a native bRC2 complex can catalyze the photo-oxidation of Mn(2+) to Mn(3+) , but only in the presence of bicarbonate concentrations that allows the formation of (bRC2)Mn(2+) (bicarbonate)1-2 complexes. Parallel-mode EPR spectroscopy was used to characterize the photoproduct, (bRC2)Mn(3+) (CO3 (2-) ), based on the g tensor and (55) Mn hyperfine splitting. (Bi)carbonate coordination extends the lifetime of the Mn(3+) photoproduct by slowing charge recombination. Prior electrochemical measurements show that carbonate complexation thermodynamically stabilizes the Mn(3+) product by 0.9-1 V relative to water ligands. A model for the origin of the water oxidation catalyst is presented that proposes chemically feasible steps in the evolution of oxygenic PSIIs, and is supported by literature results on the photoassembly of contemporary PSIIs.