Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021
When controlled, the transition metal manganese is crucial for cellular life. However, when present in unusually high levels, manganese can restrict the ability for cells to grow. Thus, specialized export proteins, such as MntP, help combat metal toxicity induced by manganese. Recent studies have identified another new, small protein called MntS that also plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. It’s mechanism of action, however, remains unknown. This research focuses on the importance that MntP holds, as well as the potential function of MntS. First, wildtype strains of E. coli were modified to delete the mntP gene and to replace it with a gene encoding a similarly functioning export protein, known as MneA. Two different assays were used to test the importance of MntP; the first, a metal sensitivity assay, examined whether MntP was required for the cell to survive metal toxicity. The second, a two-hybrid assay, was used to determine whether MntP was required for the interaction between MntS with itself. The first set of experiments concluded that MntP is, in fact, required by the cell to survive metal toxicity induced by manganese. In contrast, the second set of experiments alluded that MntS can bind to itself even in the absence of MntP. This works provides an insight on the relationship between MntP and MntS, in the hopes of clarifying the unique function of MntS.