CYANOBACTERIA AS MICROBIAL FACTORIES
Dr. Lau Nyok Sean and Prof. Amirul Al-Ashraf Abdullah from CCB published a mini review on the potential of cyanobacteria for various biotechnological applications. In this review, the use of cyanobacteria for the production of biofuels, bioactive compounds, high-value chemicals and as tools for aquatic bioremediation as well as recent progress in engineering cyanobacteria for these applications were summarized.http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/754934/
GLOBIN IN ACTION
22 June 2015 — The Structural Biology team at CCB has published the crystal structures of a unique globin from the bacterium Methylacidiphilum infernorum. Globins, such as haemoglobins, contain a haem group and can bind a variety of molecules like O2, CO and NO. In these structures, helices E and F unexpectedly fuse into an elongated helix, enabling the globin to form a novel site-swapped dimeric structure. The globin, which comprises the N-terminal domain of a putative sensor protein (HGbRL), exits in the open and closed forms. In the closed form, helix E moves inwards to bind to the haem and form a unique Lys–His hexacoordinated species. A large conformational movement is also observed between the two forms, providing an insight into how a signal can be relayed from the globin domain to the C-terminal domain of the sensor protein.http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150622/srep11407/full/srep11407.html
FUTURE YOUNG SCIENTIST
Future Young Scientist Programme (FSP), a programme with targeted audience of 4 to 12 years old aiming to provide a scientific ecosystem to the young generation by utilizing current state-of-the-art laboratory facilities within Universiti Sains Malaysia via experiential learning. FSP objectives is to cultivate students interest and drive passion towards Science & Technology and to provide science outreach through education and hands-on science teaching. Through the programme structure, CCB contributed in providing laboratory facilities and expertise on the hands-on Scientific Demonstrations.
DRAFT GENOME OF AUREISPIRA QB1
Dr. Go Furusawa and Dr. Lau Nyok Sean, two post-doctoral researchers at CCB published a work reporting the draft genome of a bacterium isolated from the coastal area of Penang. Aureispira CCB-QB1 was revealed to have the capacity to produce high levels of arachidonic acid and several secondary metabolites. Bioinformatics analysis showed the presence of linoleoyl-CoA desaturase, a key gene in arachidonic acid biosynthesis in its genome. This work is a representative of CCB’s interest to discover interesting chemical secrets from the rich Malaysian biodiversity.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1874778714001263
A team of researchers from RIKEN and Spiber Inc. in Japan, led by Dr. Keiji Numata, visited Penang from 2-4 March 2015 for sampling of spiders in order to study the properties of spider silk, a functional biomaterial. Harvesting of silk from spider and processing of samples were conducted in the Molecular Laboratory of Professor. Dr. K. Sudesh Kumar in Centre for Chemical Biology (CCB).