April 23, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Adkins, Olson Co-Authored One of 2020 Best Papers in The ISME Journal

The study examines the molecular details of virus-infected marine bacterium

portraits of a man and a woman

(Photos by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Biomedical scientist Josh Adkins and chemist Heather Olson, both scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), are co-authors on one of three papers recognized in the inaugural Best Paper Award of The ISME Journal.

The ISME Journal is the official journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology. Work in this publication explores microbial life, including archaea, bacteria, and viruses.

The recognized paper, titled “Phage-specific metabolic reprogramming of virocells,” examines how a marine bacterium metabolically responds to infection with different viruses. Led by scientists at The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, this work was partially funded by the Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science program award providing access to resources at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and the Joint Genome Institute user facilities.

Adkins contributed expertise in comprehensive characterization of proteins in infected and uninfected cells. This characterization enabled the research team to track how metabolic changes in virus-infected cells influenced how much nutrients the bacteria needed from their environment.

Olson, a chemist with the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility at PNNL, specializes in sample preparation for extracting high-quality protein samples from very complex matrices. Being able to obtain bacterial and viral proteins from environmental samples, such as soil and seawater, where the background materials overwhelm or absorb the amount of protein present is a constant challenge she strives to overcome.

Previously, much of viral ecology studied interactions between infectious virus outside a cell, their hosts, and the environment. Continued study of the molecular details of virus-infected cells could allow virocells to be incorporated into ecosystem models.

Published: April 23, 2021

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