Meetings Board

Division K - Microbial Physiology and Metabolism

Div K Home Officers Events and Business Training Lecturers


109th General Meeting - May 17-21, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.

Div. K Business Meeting will be held Monday, May 18 at 11:00 AM to discuss:

  • Nominations for next year's officers
  • Future Division K Symposia
  • Improving communications among Division K members

Div. K Mixer - Tuesday, May 19. 7:30 - 9:00 PM

Yr 2008 Divisional Lecturer

Our divisional lecturer at the 2009 general meeting is Bernhard Schink, University of Konstanz.

Yr 2009 Division K Seminars

The symposia that will be presented at the 2009 meeting are:

Funky Photosynthsis: Novel Ways of Using Light Energy for Growth (Mon 5/18 8:15-10:45 AM, Room 105A)


Convened by D. Newman and R. S. Oremland

Presenters: B. Schink, A. J. Poulain, R. S. Oremland, A. M. Garcia Costas, J. Overmann
Solar energy generation is currently of great interest due to the pressing need for alternative fuel sources. Typically, photosynthesis is associated with the ability of plants to split water molecules, thereby putting oxygen into the atmosphere. This “oxygenic” process has been going on for over 2 billion years. However, “anoxygenic” photosynthesis associated with photosynthetic bacteria and cyanobacteria preceded oxygenic photosynthesis in the geologic past. Recently, a variety of exciting discoveries have been made about substrates other than water that can power photosynthetic growth, as well as the conditions under which the organisms that use these substrates grow and their geochemical impact. This session will introduce attendees to a diversity of these processes and their biogeochemical contexts.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Respect the diversity of photosynthetic metabolisms;
  • Understand how microbes engaged in these metabolisms influence the geochemistry of their environment;
  • Appreciate the remarkable adaptations that allow phototrophs to adapt to extreme ecosystems; and
  • Realize the power of metagenomic analyses in predicting the physiological and metabolic potential of microbial ecosystems.

Plugging Microbial Actvities and Genomes into the Energy Grid (Mon 5/18 2:30-5:00 PM, Room 107A)


Convened by T. Donohue and J. L. Reed

Presenters: M. Keller, A. Schirmer, T. Donohue, J. L. Reed, J. C. Liao
Microbes are the master chemists of the planet, so it is not surprising that society is turning to them to solve the ever-growing need for renewable energy sources. Using physiology, genetics, biochemistry and genomics, public and private sector research teams are tapping the metabolic diversity of microbes for production of liquid fuels (ethanol and others), gases (hydrogen, methane) or electricity from a combination of renewable resources, wastes, plant biomass or sunlight. This session will illustrate how computational, laboratory and interdisciplinary approaches are being used to identify new microbes, microbial catalysts or redirect their activities to provide renewable energy strategies.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Identify emerging research issues and advances in biofuels production;
  • Employ cross-disciplinary approaches to solve basic science problems in metabolism; and
  • Describe how microbes can be deployed to solve critical, real world, problems.

Non-Canonical Roles of tRNAs: Structure and Function (Tue 5/19 2:30-5:00 PM, Room 108A)


Convened by M. Ibba and J. D. Helmann

Presenters: J. D. Helmann, T. M. Henkin, A. Lloyd, R. Parry, M. Ibba
Since the formulation of Crick’s seminal adaptor hypothesis half a century ago, it has generally been assumed that the role of transfer RNAs (tRNA) in the cell is almost exclusively confined to protein synthesis. While translation of mRNA remains the most prominent function for tRNAs, recent advances in microbial systems have revealed that at least half of the tRNAs also play roles outside of protein synthesis. These include antibiotic and amino acid biosynthesis, antibiotic resistance, cell envelope biogenesis and remodeling, regulation of transcription, and proteolytic tagging. The objective of this symposium is to provide an overview of our current knowledge of the roles of tRNA outside protein synthesis, and to point to areas where new roles for tRNA might be found.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss how tRNA functions outside of protein synthesis in: (a)Gene expression; (b)Antibiotic resistance and synthesis, and; (c)Proteolysis; and
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the broader role of tRNA in the cell will also provide participants with knowledge of an emerging theme in global stress responses in bacteria.

Electron Bifurcation as a Novel Mechanism of Energy Conservation (Wed 5/20 8:15-10:45 AM, Room 105A)

Convened by W. Bucker and R. K. Thauer

Presenters: C. A. Yu, W. Buckel, M. J. McInerney, S. Nordland, R. K. Thauer
In catabolic clostridial butyrate synthesis, the highly exergonic reduction of crotonyl-CoA to butyryl-CoA by NADH drives the endergonic reduction of ferredoxin by NADH. This electron bifurcation of NADH (E0' = -320 mV), energetically down to crotonyl-CoA (E0' = -10 mV) and up to ferredoxin (E0' = -420 mV), represents a new type of energy conservation. The reduced ferredoxin can either recycle NADH catalysed by the Rnf-like proton pumping ferredoxin-NADH reductase or reduce protons to molecular hydrogen, which enhances oxidative substrate level phosphorylation. Other examples of electron bifurcation are the Q-cycle in the bc1-complex, reduction of ferredoxin for nitrogen fixation mediated by the fix-gene products, and energy conservation in cytochrome-less methanogens. Reverse bifurcation could explain fatty acid oxidation in syntrophic bacteria.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the mechanism of energy conservation in butyrate forming clostridia and methanogenic Archaea;
  • Differentiate between proton translocation via proton pumps versus via redox loops; and
  • Predict the mechanism of endergonic ferredoxin reduction in anaerobic fermentation.

Polyhedral Microbial Protein Compartments: Structure and Metabolic Functions (Thurs 5/21 8:00-10:30 AM, Room 105A)

Convened by S. Heinhorst and G. C. Cannon

Presenters: G. C. Cannon, C. Kerfeld, J. R. Roth, M. B. Prenice and M. Sutter
In the early 1970s, polyhedral inclusions were found in a number of chemoautotrophs and cyanobacteria. These were termed carboxysomes when it became clear that they contain the CO2 fixing enzyme RubisCO surrounded by a thin protein shell that enhances RubisCO’s catalytic ability. Related polyhedral organelles with different enzyme cargoes and predicted roles in bacterial metabolism have subsequently been discovered in various autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria. The potential to form such organelles is widespread, since the genomes of many different bacteria contain orthologs of their shell protein genes. It appears that many bacteria use this common structure to sequester key metabolic enzymes into polyhedral protein compartments that facilitate or enhance metabolic functions much like a eukaryotic cell compartment. This session will highlight exciting discoveries that relate structure to metabolic function of polyhedral bacterial protein compartments. The symposium will be of interest to anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of intracellular metabolic organization in bacteria.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Distinguish various bacterial protein compartments;
  • Explain their roles as organelles in bacterial metabolism; and
  • Describe the structures of different polyhedral protein compartments.

Poster Sessions

Posters will be available for view for the entire time the Poster Hall is open. Poster Sessions schedules are the time when the Poster Presenter is available to answer questions about their research.

Mon 5/18, 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Bacterial Stress Responses

Mon 5/18, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Membrane Transporters

Mon 5/18, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Ecology, Physiology, and Molecular Biology of Archaea

Tue 5/19, 10:45 AM -12:15 PM

Cell Walls and Cell Membranes: Structure and Function

Wed 5/20, 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Metabolism and Enzymology

Wed 5/20 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Cell-Cell Communication

Wed 5/20, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Genetic & Biochemical Regulation of Metabolic Pathways

Wed 5/20, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Functional Genomics

Div K Home OfficersEvents and Business Training Lecturers

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