Sabine Heinhorst, Ph.D.

Department Chair and Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

In collaboration with Vice Provost for Research, Dr. Gordon Cannon, my research focuses on polyhedral inclusions in bacteria that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to organic cell material. These inclusions, called carboxysomes, resemble viruses at first glance but do not contain genetic material. They consist of a thin polyhedral protein shell that encloses the protein enzyme that turns CO2 into organic molecules. We are interested in learning how the structure of the carboxysome is linked to its function, and how this structure self-assembles from its individual protein components. Possible future applications of our research are the development of "designer" carboxysomes that deliver contents (e.g. drugs) to target destinations or are able to synthesize specific chemicals of interest.
Many undergraduates have contributed to our research throughout the years. Projects in the lab have largely been multidisciplinary in experimental approaches, ranging from cloning and recombinant protein expression and purification to studies of physical interactions between carboxysome proteins and enzyme activity assays. Several undergraduate students have also chosen gene annotation projects that provide the most flexibility of scheduling the mostly online activities.

(Shown are publications since 2006)

Roberts, E.W., Cai, F., Kerfeld, C.A., Cannon, G.C., and Heinhorst, S.: Isolation and Characterization of the Prochlorococcus Carboxysome Reveal the Presence of the Novel Shell Protein CsoS1D. J. Bacteriol. 194: 787-795 (2012).

Shively, S.M., Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S., Bryant, D.A., DasSarma, S., Bazylinski, D., Preiss, J., Steinbüchel, A., Docampo, R., and Dahl, C.: Bacterial and Archaeal Inclusions. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (2011) DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000302.pub3.

Menon, B.B., Heinhorst, S., Shively, J.M., and Cannon, G.C.: The Carboxysome Shell is Permeable to Protons. J. Bacterial. 192: 5881-5886 (2010).

Ditty, J., Kvaal, C., Goodner, B., Freyermuth, S., Bailey, C., Britton, R., Gordon, S., Heinhorst, S., Reed, K., Xu, Z., Sanders-Lorenz, E., Axen, S., Kim, E., Johns, M., Scott, K. and Kerfeld, C.: Faculty Incorporating Genomics and Bioinformatics Across the Life Sciences Curriculum: Development and Implementation of the Integrated Microbial Genomes Annotation Collaboration Toolkit. PLoS Biology 8(8): e1000448 (2010).

Kerfeld, C.A., Heinhorst. S. and Cannon, G.C.: Bacterial Microcompartments. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 64: 391-408 (2010).

Iancu, C.V., Morris, D.M., Dou, Z., Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C., and Jensen, G.J.: Organization, Structure, and Assembly of α-Carboxysomes Determined by Electron Cryotomography of Intact Cells. J. Mol. Biol. 396: 105-117 (2010).

Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S. and Kerfeld, C.A.: Carboxysomal Carbonic Anhydrases: Structure and Role in Microbial CO2 Fixation. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Proteins and Proteomics 1804: 382-392 (2010).

Cai, F., Menon, B.B., Cannon, G.C., Curry, K.J., Shively, S.M., and Heinhorst, S.: The Pentameric Vertex Proteins Are Necessary for the Icosahedral Carboxysome Shell to Function as a CO2 Leakage Barrier. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7521 (2009).

Klein, M.G., Zwart, P., Bagby, S.C., Cai, F., Chisholm, S.W., Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C. and Kerfeld, C.A.: Identification and Structural Analysis of a Novel Carboxysome Shell Protein. J. Mol. Biol. 392: 319-333 (2009).

Shively, J.M., Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S., Fuerst, J.A., Bryant, D.A., Gantt, E., Maupin-Furlow, J.A., Schüler, D., Pfeifer, F., Docampo, R., Dahl, C., Preiss, J., Steinbüchel, A. and Federici. B.A. “Intracellular Structures of Prokaryotes: Inclusions, Compartments and Assemblages”, in The Encyclopedia of Microbiology, 3rd Edition (Moselio Schaechter, ed.), Elsevier (2009), pp 404-424.

Menon, B.B., Dou, Z., Heinhorst, S., Shively, J.M., and Cannon, G.C.: Halothiobacillus neapolitanus Carboxysomes Sequester Heterologous and Chimeric RubisCO Species. PLoS ONE 3, e3570 (2008).

Heinhorst, S., Thames, D.G., Boyce, J. and Morgan, S.E.: Summer SCIENCE – Enhancing High School Science through Polymers. Polymer Reviews 48: 622-632 (2008).

Yeates, T.O., Kerfeld, C.A., Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C. and Shively, J.M.: Protein-Based Organelles in Bacteria: Carboxysomes and Related Microcompartments. (invited review; Nature Reviews Microbiology 6: 681-691 (2008).

Aumsuwan, N., Danyus, R.C., Heinhorst, S. And Urban, M.W.: Attachment of Ampicillin to Expanded Poly(tetrafluoroethylene): Surface Reactions Leading to Inhibition of Microbial Growth. Biomacromolecules 9: 1712-1718 (2008).

Dou, Z., Heinhorst, S., Williams, E.B., Murin, C.D., Shively, J.M. and Cannon, G.C.: CO2 Fixation Kinetics of Halothiobacillus neapolitanus Mutant Carboxysomes Lacking Carbonic Anhydrase Suggest the Shell Acts as a Diffusional Barrier for CO2. J. Biol. Chem. 283: 10377-10384 (2008).

Tanaka, S., Kerfeld, C.A., Sawaya, M.R., Cai, F., Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C., and Yeates, T.O.: Atomic-level Models of the Bacterial Carboxysome Shell. Science 319: 1083-1086 (2008).

Cai, F., Heinhorst, S., Shively, J.M. and Cannon, G.C.: Transcript Analysis of the Halothiobacillus neapolitanus cso Operon. Arch. Microbiol. 189: 141-150 (2008).

Aumsuwan, N., Heinhorst, S. and Urban, M.W.: The Effectiveness of Antibiotic Activity of Penicillin Attached to Expanded Poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (ePTFE) Surfaces: A Quantitative Assessment. Biomacromolecules 8: 3525 – 3530 (2007).

Tsai, Y., Sawaya, M.R., Cannon, G.C., Cai, F., Williams, E.B., Heinhorst, S., Kerfeld, C.A. and Yeates, T.O.: The Structure of the Shell Protein CsoS1A from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus and its Implications for Carboxysome Function. PLoS Biology 5: 1345-1354 (2007).

Aumsuwan, N., Heinhorst, S., and Urban, M.W.: Antibacterial Surfaces on Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE); Penicillin Attachment. Biomacromolecules 8: 713-718 (2007).

Heinhorst, S., Williams, E.B., Cai, F., Murin, C.D., Shively, J.M. and Cannon, G.C.: Characterization of the Carboxysomal Carbonic Anhydrase CsoSCA from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus. J. Bacteriol. 188: 8087-8094 (2006).

Sawaya, M.R., Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S., Tanaka, S., Williams, E.B., Yeates, T.O. and Kerfeld, C.A.: The Structure of β-Carbonic Anhydrase from the Carboxysomal Shell Reveals a Distinct Subclass with One Active Site for the Price of Two. J. Biol. Chem. 281: 7546-7555 (2006).

Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C., and Shively, J.M.: Carboxysomes and Carboxysome-like Inclusions, in: Complex Intracellular Structures in Prokaryotes (J.M. Shively, ed.), Microbiological Monographs (2), pp. 141-165, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2006).

Shively, S.M., Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S., Bryant, D.A., DasSarma, S., Bazylinski, D., Preiss, J., Steinbüchel, A., Docampo, R., and Dahl, C.: Bacterial Inclusions. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (2006).