Cysteine: an overlooked energy and carbon source

January 26, 2021


Cysteine: an overlooked energy and carbon source


Luise Gobbels




Scientific Reports


Biohybrids composed of microorganisms and nanoparticles have emerged as potential systems for bioenergy and high-value compound production from CO2 and light energy, yet the cellular and metabolic processes within the biological component of this system are still elusive. Here we dissect the biohybrid composed of the anaerobic acetogenic bacterium Moorella thermoacetica and cadmium sulphide nanoparticles (CdS) in terms of physiology, metabolism, enzymatics and transcriptomic profiling. Our analyses show that while the organism does not grow on l-cysteine, it is metabolized to acetate in the biohybrid system and this metabolism is independent of CdS or light. CdS cells have higher metabolic activity, despite an inhibitory effect of Cd2+ on key enzymes, because of an intracellular storage compound linked to arginine metabolism. We identify different routes how cysteine and its oxidized form can be innately metabolized by the model acetogen and what intracellular mechanisms are triggered by cysteine, cadmium or blue light.




Biohybrids, microorganisms, nanoparticles, bioenergy, emviroment,