WARF: P05368US

Singlet Oxygen-Resistant Technologies


Timothy Donohue, Jennifer Anthony, Kristin Warczak, Yann DuFour, Heather Green

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method of enhancing or reducing the response to 1O2.
OVERVIEWRhodobacter sphaeroides is a photosynthetic bacterium that is a useful model system for photosynthesis. Singlet oxygen (1O2) is a toxic byproduct of photosynthesis and other biological pathways that can destroy the integrity of membranes, abolish the function of biomolecules, harm the photosynthetic machinery and kill cells. R. sphaeroides responds to 1O2 by using a transcription factor, σE, which turns on the expression of several genes that mediate the response to and ensure viability in the presence of 1O2.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a method of altering the response of cells to 1O2 by modulating the interaction between an anti-sigma factor, ChrR, and σE, or by altering the expression of a gene product required for viability in the presence of 1O2. The growth of phototrophic bacteria exposed to 1O2 may be inhibited by administering an anti-sigma agent, such as ChrR, to reduce the availability of σE On the other hand, a bacterium or other organism may be protected from damage from 1O2 by modifying the genes in the σE regulon or by modifying ChrR to alter binding between it and σE.
  • Improved crop production
  • Production of molecules in plant or bacterial cell factories
  • Destruction of susceptible pathogens
  • Allows response to 1O2 to be enhanced or reduced
  • Engineered photosynthetic systems could be designed to be less susceptible to 1O2 damage.
  • Because 1O2 affects many organisms, including bacteria, plants, animals and humans, the components of the biological response to 1O2  have applications in medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and bioenergy production systems.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or 608-960-9845.
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