Nanopumps are special proteins located in a live cell’s membrane. When a cell gets into adverse conditions, for instance, where a lot of heavy metals are present, evolutionarily developed defense mechanisms are activated in its wall. The protein molecules embedded into the membrane begin pumping out the harmful substances from the cell. As we are referring to small-scale (molecular) organisms, such pumps are called nanopumps, i.e., very small pumps. Nanopumps are present in all live cells on Earth: in plants, in microorganisms and in animals.
The research objects are microorganisms subtracted from mine waters. Due to very high metal concentrations, the microorganisms which have evolved in these waters have acquired tolerance to copper. Studying changes in stable nanopump forms and the reasons why microorganisms can bear large copper concentrations are the priority tasks of the research.
The research connected with the Nanopumps for Heavy Metals project studies the element copper’s properties as a matter preventing microbes from dissemination in clinics. Antibiotic-resistant diseases and exciters are the number one issue in medical microbiology today. New antibiotics are required constantly, since microbes adapt very quickly. It has been revealed recently that copper-coated surfaces kill also the antibiotic-resistant infections. This is the moment when copper nanopumps can come to the fore. Upon studying their activity, one can find a “switch” for nanopumps responsible for copper to make harmful microorganisms attackable for the copper’s disinfectant properties.
But the medical aspect is not the only purpose of the research. TGU has many projects connected with secondary metal concentration from the winning’s waste. This biotechnology is also connected with studying of the nanopumps’ activity and may be applied for environmental purposes: cleanup of environments (soil and water) from metals and waste recycling.