Dr Joanne Santini


Personal Profile

Name: Joanne Santini Email: j.santini@ucl.ac.uk
Title: Dr Tel: 020 7631 6675
Department: Structural & Molecular Biology Fax:
Position: Senior Lecturer Address: c/o Birkbeck College, Biological Sciences,, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX
Research Domain: Basic Life Sciences, Nanotechnology (Frontier Disciplines), Origins, Synthetic Biology Web Page: Personal Web Page


Research Description

My current research involves the study of microorganisms that metabolise toxic metals and metalloids such as arsenic. The areas I am interested in addressing are: (1) how do microbes use toxic substances for growth (i.e. what is the mechanism)? (2) what is the distribution and abundance of the genes that encode these properties in various environments?; (3) what is the role of these organisms in the cycling of these elements in the environment?; (4) when and how did these metabolic enzymes evolve? and (5) how can we develop the metabolic enzymes as biosensors for the detection of these compounds?

Research Activities

Education Description

I am Degree Tutor for Molecular Biology and course organiser for BIOC2005 (Metabolism and Its Regulation). I teach on four courses including BIOC1007 (Principles and Practice of Experimental Biochemistry), BIOC1010 (Introduction to Microbiology), BIOC2001 (Molecular Biology) and BIOC2005.

UCL Collaborators

External Collaborators



    • Osborne TH, McArthur JM, Sidkar PK, Santini JM (2015). Isolation of an Arsenate-Respiring Bacterium from a Redox Front in an Arsenic-Polluted Aquifer in West Bengal, Bengal Basin. Environmental Science and Technology (Washington), 49(7), 4193 - 4199. doi:10.1021/es504707x
    • Wang Q, Warelow TP, Kang Y-S, Romano C, Osborne TH, Lehr CR, Bothner B, McDermott TR, Santini JM, Wang G (2015). Arsenite oxidase also functions as an antimonite oxidase. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(6), 1959 - 1965. doi:10.1128/AEM.02981-14


    • Kalimuthu P, Heath MD, Santini JM, Kappler U, Bernhardt PV (2014). Electrochemically driven catalysis of Rhizobium sp. NT-26 arsenite oxidase with its native electron acceptor cytochrome c552. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta: Bioenergetics, 1837(1), 112 - 120. doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.07.010
    • Dekker L, Osborne TH, Santini JM (2014). Isolation and identification of cobalt and caesium resistant bacteria from a nuclear fuel storage pond. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 359(1), 81 - 84. doi:10.1111/1574-6968.12562


    • Warelow TP, Oke M, Schoepp-Cothenet B, Dahl JU, Bruselat N, Sivalingam GN, Leimkuehler S, Thalassinos K, Kappler U, Naismith JN, Santini JM (2013). The Respiratory Arsenite Oxidase: Structure and the Role of Residues Surrounding the Rieske Cluster. PLoS One, 8(8), e72535 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072535
    • Hudson-Edwards KA, Santini JM (2013). Arsenic-microbe-mineral interactions in mining-affected environments. Minerals, 3, 337 - 351. doi:10.3390/min3040337
    • Osborne TH, Heath MD, Martin AC, Pankowski JA, Hudson-Edwards KA, Santini JM (2013). Cold-adapted arsenite oxidase from a psychrotolerant Polaromonas species. Metallomics, 5(4), 318 - 324. doi:10.1039/c2mt20180a
    • Andres J, Arsène-Ploetze F, Barbe V, Brochier-Armanet C, Cleiss-Arnold J, Coppée JY, Dillies MA, Geist L, Joublin A, Koechler S, Lassalle F, Marchal M, Médigue C, Muller D, Nesme D, Plewniak F, Proux C, Ramírez-Bahena MH, Schenowitz C, Sismeiro O, Vallenet D, Santini JM, Bertin PN (2013). Life in an arsenic-containing gold mine: genome and physiology of the autotrophic arsenite-oxidizing bacterium rhizobium sp. NT-26. Genome Biology and Evolution, 5(5), 934 - 953. doi:10.1093/gbe/evt061


    • Heath MD, Schoepp-Cothenet B, Osborne TH, Santini JM (2012). Arsenite oxidase. In Santini JM, Ward SA (Ed.), The metabolism of arsenite (pp. 81 - 97). : CRC Press.
    • Osborne TH, Santini JM (2012). Prokaryotic aerobic oxidation of arsenite. In Santini JM, Ward SA (Ed.), The metabolism of arsenite (pp. 61 - 72). : CRC Press.
    • van Lis R, Nitschke W, Warelow TP, Capowiez L, Santini JM, Schoepp-Cothenet B (2012). Heterologously expressed arsenite oxidase: A system to study biogenesis and structure/function relationships of the enzyme family. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta: Bioenergetics, 1817(9), 1701 - 1708. doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2012.06.001
    • Lett M-C, Muller D, Lièvremont D, Silver S, Santini JM (2012). Unified nomenclature for genes involved in prokaryotic aerobic arsenite oxidation. Journal of Bacteriology, 19(2), 207 - 208. doi:10.1128/JB.06391-11


    • Osborne TH, Jamieson HE, Hudson-Edwards KA, Nordstrom DK, Walker SR, Ward SA, Santini JM (2010). Microbial oxidation of arsenite in a subarctic environment: diversity of arsenite oxidase genes and identification of a psychrotolerant arsenite oxidiser. BMC Microbiology, Jul 30;10:205, - . doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-205
    • Sardiwal S, Santini JM, Osborne TH, Djordjevic S (2010). Characterization of a two-component signal transduction system that controls arsenite oxidation in the chemolithoautotroph NT-26.. FEMS Microbiol Lett, 313(1), 20 - 28. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.02121.x
    • Duval S, Santini JM, Nitschke W, Hille R, Schoepp-Cothenet B (2010). The small subunit AroB of arsenite oxidase: lessons on the [2Fe-2S]-Rieske protein superfamily. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(27), 20442 - 20451. doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.113811
    • Lowe EC, Bydder S, Hartshorne RS, Tape HL, Dridge EJ, Debieux CM, Paszkiewicz K, Singleton I, Lewis RJ, Santini JM, Richardson DJ, Butler CS (2010). Quinol-cytochrome c oxidoreductase and cytochrome c4 mediate electron transfer during selenate respiration in Thauera selenatis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(24), 18433 - 18442. doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.115873


    • Schoepp-Cothenet B, Duval S, Santini J, Nitschke W (2008). Comment on "Arsenic (III) fuels anoxygenic photosynthesis in hot spring biofilms from Mono Lake, California".. Science, 321(5914), 583 - 583. doi:10.1126/science.1164967


    • Male KB, Hrapovic S, Santini JM, Luong JHT (2007). A biosensor for arsenite using arsenite oxidase and multi-walled carbon nanotube modified electrodes. Analytical Chemistry, 79, 7831 - 7837.
    • Hoeft SE, Switzer Blum J, Stolz JF, Tabita FR, Witte B, King GM, Santini JM, Oremland RS (2007). Alkalilimnicola ehrlichii sp. nov., a novel arsenite-oxidizing, haloalkaliphilic gammaproteobacterium capable of chemoautotrophic or heterotrophic growth with nitrate or oxygen as the electron acceptor. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 57, 504 - 512.
    • Inskeep WP, Macur RE, Hamamura N, Warelow TP, Ward SA, Santini JM (2007). Detection, diversity and expression of aerobic bacterial arsenite oxidase genes. Environmental Microbiology, 9(4), 934 - 943. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01215.x
    • Dridge EJ, Watts CA, Jepson BJN, Line K, Santini JM, Richardson DJ, Butler CS (2007). Investigation of the redox centres of selenate reductase from Thauera selenatis by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Biochemical Journal, 408(1), 19 - 28.
    • Santini JM, Kappler U, Ward SA, Honeychurch MJ, vanden Hoven RN, Bernhardt PV (2007). The NT-26 cytochrome c552 and its role in arsenite oxidation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics, 1767, 189 - 186.
    • Stolz JF, Tabita R, Witte B, King G, Santini JM, Blum J, Hoeft S, Richie C, Oremland R (2007). The genome of the arsenite oxidizing gammaproteobacterium Alkalilimnicola ehrlichii.


    • Lebrun E, Santini JM, Brugna M, Ducluzeau AL, Ouchane S, Schoepp-Cothenet B, Baymann F, Nitschke W (2006). The Rieske protein: a case study on the pitfalls of multiple sequence alignments and phylogenetic reconstruction.. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 23(6), 1180 - 1191.
    • Bernhardt PV, Santini JM (2006). Protein film voltammetry of arsenite oxidase from the chemolithoautotrophic arsenite-oxidizing bacterium NT-26. Biochemistry, 45, 2804 - 2809.
    • Lowe EC, Watts CA, Richardson DJ, Santini JM, Singleton I, Butler CS (2006). The bioenergetics of selenate respiration in Thauera selenatis.
    • Stolz JF, Basu P, Santini JM, Oremland RS (2006). Arsenic and selenium in microbial metabolism.. Annual Review of Microbiology, 60, 107 - 130.


    • vanden Hoven RN, Streimann ICA, Santini JM (2004). Prokaryotic arsenic metabolism - roles in arsenic cycling and bioremediation.
    • Santini JM, Streimann ICA, vanden Hoven RN (2004). Bacillus macyae sp. nov., an arsenate-respiring bacterium isolated from an Australian gold mine. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 54(6), 2241 - 2244. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.63059-0
    • Santini JM, Stolz JF (2004). Prokaryotic arsenate and selenate respiration. In Nakano MM, Zuber P (Ed.), STRICT AND FACULTATIVE ANAEROBES: MEDICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS (pp. 239 - 249). : Horizon Scientific Press.
    • Maher MJ, Santini JM, Pickering IJ, Prince RC, Macy JM, George GN (2004). X-ray absorption spectroscopy of selenate reductase. Inorganic Chemistry, 43, 402 - 404.
    • Santini JM, vanden Hoven RN (2004). Molybdenum-containing arsenite oxidase of the chemolithoautotrophic arsenite oxidizer NT-26. Journal of Bacteriology, 186(6), 1614 - 1619. doi:10.1128/JB.186.6.1614-1619.2004
    • vanden Hoven RN, Santini JM (2004). Arsenite oxidation by the heterotroph Hydrogenophaga sp. str. NT-14: the arsenite oxidase and its physiological electron acceptor.. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics, 1656(2-3), 148 - 155. doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2004.03.001
    • Malasarn D, Saltikov CW, Campbell KM, Santini JM, Hering JG, Newman DK (2004). arrA is a specific marker for As(V)-respiration in the environment.. Science, 306(5695), 455 - 455. doi:10.1126/science.1102374
    • Malasarn D, Saltikov CW, Santini JM, Newman DK (2004). Molecular identification of arsenate-respiratory capacity based on the arrA gene.


    • Santini JM, Stolz JF, Macy JM (2002). Isolation of a new arsenate-respiring bacterium - physiological and phylogenetic studies. Geomicrobiology Journal, 19(1), 41 - 52.
    • Santini JM, Sly LI, Wen A, Comrie D, DeWulf-Durand P, Macy JM (2002). New arsenite-oxidizing bacteria isolated from Australian gold-mining environments - phylogenetic relationships. Geomicrobiology Journal, 19(1), 67 - 76.
    • Macy JM, Santini JM (2002). Unique modes of arsenate respiration by Chrysiogenes arsenatis and Desulfomicrobium sp. str. Ben-RB. In Frankenberger WT (Ed.), Environmental Chemistry of Arsenic (pp. 297 - 312). : Marcel Dekker, Inc.,.
    • Santini JM, Macy JM (2002). Characteristics of newly discovered arsenite-oxidizing bacteria. In Frankenberger WT (Ed.), Environmental Chemistry of Arsenic (pp. 329 - 342). : Marcel Dekker, Inc.,.
    • Oremland RS, Hoeft SE, Santini JM, Bano N, Hollibaugh RA, Hollibaugh JT (2002). Anaerobic oxidation of arsenite in Mono Lake water and by a facultative, arsenite-oxidizing chemoautotroph, strain MLHE-1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68(10), 4795 - 4802.


    • Santini JM, Sly LI, Schnagl RD, Macy JM (2000). A new chemolithoautotrophic arsenite-oxidizing bacterium isolated from a gold mine: phylogenetic, physiological, and preliminary biochemical studies. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 66(1), 92 - 97.
    • Macy JM, Santini JM, Pauling BV, O'Neill A, Sly LI (2000). Two new arsenate/sulfate-reducing bacteria: mechanisms of arsenate reduction. Archives of Microbiology, 173, 49 - 57.


    • Santini JM, Stanisich VA (1998). Both the fipA gene of pKM101 and the pifC gene of F inhibit the conjugal transfer of RP1 by an effect on traG. Journal of Bacteriology, 180, 4093 - 4101.


    • Li SF, Santini JM, Nicolaou O, Parish RW (1996). A novel myb-related gene from Arabidopsis thaliana. FEBS Letters, 379(2), 117 - 121. doi:10.1016/0014-5793(95)01461-6

    • Maher MJ, Santini JM, George GN (). Structural studies on the selenate reductase from Thauera selenatis.