Assistant Professor
Plant and Microbial Biology

Our lab studies microbial metabolism with a specific focus on anaerobic processes.

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Research statement

Our lab studies microbial metabolism with a specific focus on anaerobic processes.  We concentrate on two research themes.  The first involves characterizing pathways for the utilization of diverse electron donors in methanogenic Archaea (methanogens).  Methanogens are responsible for the formation of >95% of Earth’s methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and are essential for the degradation of organic matter in anoxic environments.  Despite decades of study, key details of how methanogens conserve energy and utilize diverse electron donors in metabolism are only beginning to emerge.  The second theme encompasses understanding the redox properties and biochemical reactions of phenazine metabolites.  Phenazines are produced by phylogenetically diverse microorganisms and facilitate many anoxic metabolisms.  For example, phenazines are essential to energy conservation in some methanogens and support anoxic survival of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  We are interested in characterizing pathways of phenazine synthesis, modification, degradation, and electron transfer using both genetic and biochemical approaches.

Selected publications

Leslie A. Day, Elisa L. Kelsey, Dallas R. Fonseca and Kyle C. Costa (2022) Interspecies formate exchange drives syntrophic growth of Syntrophotalea carbinolica and Methanococcus maripaludisAppl Environ Microbiol. 88:e01159-22.

Francisco J. Arriaza-Gallardo, Sebastian Schaupp, Yu-Cong Zheng, Mohd Farid Abdul Halim,  Pan Hui-jie , Jörg Kahnt, Georgia Angelidou, Nicole Paczia, Xile Hu,  Kyle C. Costa and Seigo Shima (2022) The function of two radical-SAM enzymes, HcgA and HcgG, in the biosynthesis of the [Fe]-hydrogenase cofactor. Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 61:e202213239.

Eric Hernandez and Kyle C. Costa (2022) The fluorescence-activating and absorption-shifting tag (FAST) enables live-cell fluorescence imaging of Methanococcus maripaludisJ Bacteriol. 204:e00120-22.

Stefan Schulze, Heather Schiller, Jordan Solomonic, Orkan Telhan, Kyle Costa, and Mechthild Pohlschroder (2022) Advanced understanding of prokaryotic biofilm formation using a cost-effective and versatile multi-panel adhesion (mPAD) mount. Appl Environ Microbiol. 88:e02283-21.

Mohd Farid Abdul Halim, Leslie A. Day, and Kyle C. Costa (2021) Formate-dependent heterodisulfide reduction in a Methanomicrobiales archaeon. Appl Environ Microbiol. 87:e02698-20.

Dallas R. Fonseca, Mohd Farid Abdul Halim, Matthew P. Holten, and Kyle C. Costa (2020) Type IV-like pili facilitate transformation in naturally competent archaea. J Bacteriol. 202:e00355-20.

Kyle C. Costa, Nathaniel R. Glasser, Stuart J. Conway, and Dianne K. Newman (2017) Pyocyanin degradation by a tautomerizing demethylase inhibits Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Science. 355: 170-173.

Kyle C. Costa and John A. Leigh (2014) Metabolic versatility in methanogens. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 29: 70-75.