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The Discovery and Biological Mechanisms of a Widespread Phenazine's Oxidation


Tsypin, Lev Maximovich (2023) The Discovery and Biological Mechanisms of a Widespread Phenazine's Oxidation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/rmsf-e465.


During the 2017 Microbial Diversity course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, Scott Saunders and Yinon Bar-On started enrichment cultures in hopes of dis-covering biological oxidation of phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA). I took these enrich-ment cultures and described their PCA oxidation activity. From one of the mixed cultures, I isolated a bacterial strain that recapitulated the behavior of the enrichment. I identified it as a strain of Citrobacter portucalensis via a whole-genome analysis and called the strain "MBL" in reference to the Marine Biological Laboratory. Using a combination of analytical chemistry, quantitative fluorescence measurements, and genetic engineering, I showed that C. portucalensis MBL couples PCA oxidation to each mode of anaerobic respiration it employs with nitrate, fumarate, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) as terminal electron acceptors (TEAs). I further found that most of the PCA oxidation activi-ty depends on electron flux through the quinone/quinol pool but can be driven by certain terminal reductase complexes when no quinones are available, particularly in the case of ni-trate reductases. Every bacterial strain I tested catalyzed PCA oxidation when provided the appropriate TEA. My described mechanism for bacterial PCA oxidation is generalizable and implies that this previously undocumented phenomenon should occur wherever PCA is produced in rhizosphere environments.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:phenazine; redox; microbial ecology; oxidation; new metabolism
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Biology and Biological Engineering
Major Option:Microbiology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Newman, Dianne K.
Thesis Committee:
  • Parker, Joseph (chair)
  • Orphan, Victoria J.
  • Leadbetter, Jared R.
  • Bois, Justin S.
  • Newman, Dianne K.
Defense Date:5 January 2023
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE‐1745301
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:01202023-073514292
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription article adapted for Ch. 3 article adapted for Ch. 2 protocol adapted for Ch. 2
Tsypin, Lev Maximovich0000-0002-0642-8468
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15090
Deposited By: Lev Tsypin
Deposited On:23 Jan 2023 18:20
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:46

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