Thallium Bioaccumulation Mediated by
E. coli Potassium Uptake Systems

Thallium (Tl) is a heavy metal contaminant in the environment and water systems, a concentrated byproduct of mining and industrial applications. Its high toxicity is due to its ability to enter the body through potassium uptake pathways as a potassium analog. Acute exposure to this suspected carcinogen leads to symptoms such as neuropathy and chronic exposure leads to extensive tissue damage. There are few strategies that specifically target thallium for bioremediation in both soil and water systems. Our research focuses on developing a novel thallium uptake system by overexpression the endogenous Trk protein complex (consisting of trkA, trkE, trkG, and trkH) in E. coli.