Sere Williams

CM 793 Presentation Date: September 23, 2021 @ 2:00 PM in Pathology 103

Title: “The Transient Metabolic Protein Interactome of an Anaerobic Hyperthermophile”

Advisor: Dr. Tom Santangelo

ABSTRACT: The specific, transient chemical interactions of metabolic processes provide efficient energic
gains to enable life. Catabolized food allows access to carbon while shuttling electrons from
donors to acceptors to ultimately generate a hydrogen gradient and produce ATP, and such
atomic-level interactions take place at incredible speed in the protein-packed intercellular
space and across membranes. While various techniques exist for deciphering stable protein-protein
interactions (such as those formed in multimeric complexes or between an enzyme
and substrate), the physical orchestration of protein movement within a cell is largely
unknown. The extremophile, Thermococcus kodakarensis which optimally grows at 85˚C,
provides a genetically accessible platform to study transient protein-protein interactions. At
high temperatures (>80˚C), canonical small molecule electron carriers (such as NAD(P)+/H)
degrade into toxic chemistries. Hyperthermophiles use proteinaceous electron carriers such as
iron-sulfur rich ferredoxins to transport electrons. By tagging and purifying proteins involved
in metabolic redox reactions, we can capture and identify their interacting partners,
elucidating the transient metabolic protein interactome.