News & Events
Classifying and Characterising Energy-Taxis Receptors in Pseudomonas
Speaker(s): Dr Sean Booth, Research Fellow, SCELSE
When: 21 June 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SBS CR2 (Level 1)
Type: Seminars


Chemotaxis is a fundamental behavior that allows bacteria to control their location in the environment in response to attractants and repellents. Energy-taxis is a specific form of chemotaxis where cells swim towards areas that favour cellular energy production, such as higher carbon source and/or oxygen concentrations. Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses the receptor ‘Aer’ for this purpose whereas in P. putida only the second of 3 putative homologs, deemed ‘Aer2’ mediates energy-taxis. Confusingly, P. aeruginosa also has a putative oxygen receptor called ‘Aer-2’ which is a completely different protein. To resolve this naming ambiguity we used phylogenetics and sequence analysis tools to classify Aer homologs in the genus Pseudomonas, and characterise their genomic and structural features. To further understand the function of these Aer homologs, we sought to characterise their function in P. pseudoalcaligenes KF707. Deletional mutagenesis of 3 Aer homologs, Aer-2 and another receptor, CttP, revealed that they all influenced energy-taxis in this organism. Together these findings provide a novel classification and characterisation of energy-taxis receptors in Pseudomonas.


Dr Sean C. Booth received his B.Sc. in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology at University of Calgary. In 2011 he joined the microbial biochemistry group of Dr Raymond J. Turner and became a member of the Biofilm Research Group. Sean graduated with a PhD in Environmental Microbiology in 2016 with a focus on Pseudomonas metabolism and physiology. His research background is on understanding how metal toxicity influences pollutant metabolism in bacteria. At SCELSE, Sean works as a research fellow in the Microbial Biofilms cluster with A/Prof. Scott Rice, focusing on understanding how bacteria interact with each other. Outside the lab he enjoys engaging the public with science through activities like painting with bacteria.