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Rhodopseudomonas palustris CGA009 is a purple non-sulfur bacterium (PNSB) that can fix CO2 and nitrogen or break down organic compounds for its carbon and nitrogen requirements. Light, inorganic, and organic compounds can all be used for its source of energy. Excess electrons produced during its metabolic processes can be exploited to produce hydrogen gas or biodegradable polyesters (polyhydroxybutyrate). A genome-scale metabolic model of the bacterium was reconstructed to study the interactions between photosynthesis, carbon dioxide fixation, and the redox state of the quinone pool. A comparison of model-predicted flux values with published in vivo MFA fluxes resulted in predicted errors of 5-19% across four different growth substrates. The model predicted the presence of an unidentified sink responsible for the oxidation of excess quinols generated by the TCA cycle. Furthermore, light-dependent energy production was found to be highly dependent on the rate of quinol oxidation. Finally, the extent of CO2 fixation was predicted to be dependent on the amount of ATP generated through the electron transport cycle, with excess ATP going toward the energy-demanding CBB pathway. Based on this analysis, it is hypothesized that the quinone redox state acts as a feed-forward controller of the CBB pathway, signaling the amount of ATP available.
Advisor: Rajib Saha