Centre for Deep Sea Research

Metagenomics-based discovery of novel carbohydrate degrading enzymes from deep-sea hydrothermal in situ enrichments; expression, purification and characterization 

MSc project of Sondre Olai Spjeld

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Project title

Metagenomics-based discovery of novel carbohydrate degrading enzymes from deep-sea hydrothermal in situ enrichments; expression, purification and characterization


Runar Stokke, Ida Helene Steen 

Project description

The study of microorganisms that resist cultivation and for which no functional information exists is undergoing a renaissance owing to the development of metagenomics i.e. the direct sequencing of total DNA from microbial communities. This enables direct access to previously uncultured microorganisms and to a huge potential in the discovery of novel biomolecules. From deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR), large metagenomic datasets have been generated through systematic in situ cultivation in hot sediments (~70°) on the seafloor, using substrates rich in complex carbohydrates (Stokke et al.2020). In this project, the focus is on enzymes from which no functional annotation is obtained, however they contain carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) indicating a function towards carbohydrate degradation. A large fraction of the reconstructed genes from the in situ incubators enriched on hemicellulose with no functional annotation, have xylan-binding modules.