Special Issue "Microbial Degradation of Xenobiotics"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019
Prof. Dr. Yuji Nagata
Department of Environmental Life Sciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
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Interests: microbial degradation of environmental pollutants; evolution and adaptation of bacteria, protein evolution; mobile genetic elements; bacterial genome and metagenome
Xenobiotics have been released into the environment by human activities, and they often cause environmental pollution problems, since most such compounds cannot be readily degraded and have harmful effects on the natural ecosystem, including human beings. However, some microorganisms have been isolated that degrade man-made xenobiotics. Especially, most aerobic xenobiotic-degrading bacterial strains can use such chemicals as their sole sources of carbon and energy, and thus they are excellent models for studying the adaptation and evolution of bacteria in the environment.
Recent genome analyses of the bacterial strains degrading xenobiotics have strongly suggested that they indeed emerged relatively recently by gathering genes for the degradation of xenobiotics, and mobile genetic elements played important roles in the recruitment of the genes. However, the origin of the genes and the evolutionary processes of such bacterial strains remain largely unknown. Ongoing comprehensive genome and metagenome analyses may provide some insights into such mysteries, and the genes for the degradation of xenobiotics can be used as probes to reveal novel mechanisms for the evolution of microorganisms. In addition, enzymes for the degradation of xenobiotics are good materials for studies of protein evolution, since generally they show promiscuous activity and their properties change dramatically with a small number of mutations. On the other hand, the importance of microbial consortia and symbiosis for the degradation of xenobiotics in the environment has also been suggested, and thus studies of xenobiotic degradation may provide some novel concepts into the field of microbial ecology.
For this Special Issue of Microorganisms, we invite you to send contributions encompassing any aspects relating to the evolution and adaptation of microorganisms towards xenobiotics.
Prof. Dr. Yuji Nagata
Manuscript Submission Information
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- environmental pollutants
- evolution and adaptation
- genome and metagenome
- mobile genetic elements
- protein evolution
- microbial consortia