Prof Ray Dixon
The ability of bacteria to respond to a multitude of environmental signals and integrate these signals to trigger adaptive responses provides a successful strategy for survival in rapidly changing environments. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which these signals are perceived and integrated is the main aim of our work.
Our major emphasis is on signal transduction cascades that regulate nitrogen fixation genes in response to oxygen, carbon and fixed nitrogen status. A long-term goal of this research is to exploit and engineer nitrogen fixation genes for agricultural benefit.
We also study a specific class of prokaryotic transcription factors that use energy from nucleotide hydrolysis to drive the process of transcription initiation. These bacterial enhancer binding proteins interact at a distance with RNA polymerase holoenzyme containing an unusual sigma factor, sigma54. One such protein under study is NorR, a nitric oxide responsive transcriptional activator that controls expression of genes required for NO detoxification. Enhancer binding proteins contain a variety of sensory modules that probably contribute to the adaptability and unique physiological diversity of many bacteria.
ContactTel: 01603 450747
Reconstruction and minimal gene requirements for the alternative iron-only nitrogenase in Escherichia coli.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 pE3718-3725
Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1411185111
A minimal nitrogen fixation gene cluster from Paenibacillus sp. WLY78 enables expression of active nitrogenase in Escherichia coli.
PLoS Genetics 9 pe1003865
Publisher’s version: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003865
Using Synthetic Biology to Distinguish and Overcome Regulatory and Functional Barriers Related to Nitrogen Fixation
PLOS One 8 pe68677
Substitutions in the redox-sensing PAS domain of the NifL regulatory protein define an inter-subunit pathway for redox signal transmission.
Molecular Microbiology 82 p222-35
Publisher’s version: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07812.x
Nature 437 p769-772
Modular electron-transport chains from eukaryotic organelles function to support nitrogenase activity
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America -- p--
Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1620058114
Major cereal crops benefit from biological nitrogen fixation when inoculated with the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5 X940
Environmental Microbiology 18 p3522-3534
Publisher’s version: 10.1111/1462-2920.13376
Deciphering the Principles of Bacterial Nitrogen Dietary Preferences: a Strategy for Nutrient Containment
mBio 7 pe00792-16
Publisher’s version: 10.1128/mBio.00792-16
Microbiology & Molecular Biology Reviews 79 p419-35
Publisher’s version: 10.1128/MMBR.00038-15
- Dr Corinne Appia-Ayme Postdoctoral Scientist
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