Sulfolobus as a model organism for the study of diverse biological interests : forays into thermal virology and oxidative stress
Wiedenheft, Blake Alan
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My research interests have focused on two distinct aspects of Sulfolobus biology: virology and oxidative stress. My major contribution to the emerging field of thermal virology has been the isolation, characterization and comparative genomic analysis of a spindle-shaped virus partical (SSV RH) infecting the thermoacidophilic archaeal host Sulfolobus solfataricus (18). Insights from this comparative genomic analysis have served as a platform for targeted structural studies, as well as providing molecular tools used to follow the viral life cycle in culture and for assessing the ecological significance of these viruses in the environment (9, 19-24). My research endeavors in oxidative stress arose from an early interest in iron metabolism and protective mechanisms that allow life to cope with the paradoxical role that iron plays in biological systems. Pursuit of this interest has lead to the discovery of a new class of proteins termed, "DPS-Like" (7, 17, 24, 25). These previously unrecognized proteins function as antioxidants and are widely distributed across both prokaryotic domains of life.