Aquaporins are proteins that selectively transport water across membranes. The current work is part of a larger research project to explore the use of aquaporins in a biomimetic film for the desalination of water. The bioinformatics program BLAST was used to find an aquaporin gene in the micro algae, Trebouxia. This gene was chosen because of its high sequence similarity to a proposed aquaporin gene in a salt water sea lettuce, Ulva mutabilis. The hypothesis is that aquaporin proteins from salt water organisms may be better choices for the desalination of water than from other species. The Ulva m. proposed aquaporin sequence was not used directly due to its being less characterized than the Trebouxia gene from the NCBI database. The Trebouxia gene was successfully cloned into E. coli and experiments are underway to clone into yeast. As a eukaryote, the yeast may be a better expression vector for the aquaporin. Over expression of aquaporin in E. coli is known to be toxic to the host. The goal is to produce aquaporin in sufficient amounts to use to make the desalination membranes. The gene identification and progress to express the algal aquaporin will be discussed both qualitatively and quantitatively.


VSU Blazer Summer Research Institute, VSU Chemistry Department

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