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1.  An in vitro biofilm model system maintaining a highly reproducible species and metabolic diversity approaching that of the human oral microbiome 
Microbiome  2013;1:25.
Background
Our knowledge of microbial diversity in the human oral cavity has vastly expanded during the last two decades of research. However, much of what is known about the behavior of oral species to date derives from pure culture approaches and the studies combining several cultivated species, which likely does not fully reflect their function in complex microbial communities. It has been shown in studies with a limited number of cultivated species that early oral biofilm development occurs in a successional manner and that continuous low pH can lead to an enrichment of aciduric species. Observations that in vitro grown plaque biofilm microcosms can maintain similar pH profiles in response to carbohydrate addition as plaque in vivo suggests a complex microbial community can be established in the laboratory. In light of this, our primary goal was to develop a robust in vitro biofilm-model system from a pooled saliva inoculum in order to study the stability, reproducibility, and development of the oral microbiome, and its dynamic response to environmental changes from the community to the molecular level.
Results
Comparative metagenomic analyses confirmed a high similarity of metabolic potential in biofilms to recently available oral metagenomes from healthy subjects as part of the Human Microbiome Project. A time-series metagenomic analysis of the taxonomic community composition in biofilms revealed that the proportions of major species at 3 hours of growth are maintained during 48 hours of biofilm development. By employing deep pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to investigate this biofilm model with regards to bacterial taxonomic diversity, we show a high reproducibility of the taxonomic carriage and proportions between: 1) individual biofilm samples; 2) biofilm batches grown at different dates; 3) DNA extraction techniques and 4) research laboratories.
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates that we now have the capability to grow stable oral microbial in vitro biofilms containing more than one hundred operational taxonomic units (OTU) which represent 60-80% of the original inoculum OTU richness. Previously uncultivated Human Oral Taxa (HOT) were identified in the biofilms and contributed to approximately one-third of the totally captured 16S rRNA gene diversity. To our knowledge, this represents the highest oral bacterial diversity reported for an in vitro model system so far. This robust model will help investigate currently uncultivated species and the known virulence properties for many oral pathogens not solely restricted to pure culture systems, but within multi-species biofilms.
doi:10.1186/2049-2618-1-25
PMCID: PMC3971625  PMID: 24451062
In vitro model; Biofilm; Oral microbiome; Saliva; Streptococcus; Lactobacillus; Uncultivated bacteria
2.  Fe(III) Reduction and U(VI) Immobilization by Paenibacillus sp. Strain 300A, Isolated from Hanford 300A Subsurface Sediments 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(22):8001-8009.
A facultative iron-reducing [Fe(III)-reducing] Paenibacillus sp. strain was isolated from Hanford 300A subsurface sediment biofilms that was capable of reducing soluble Fe(III) complexes [Fe(III)-nitrilotriacetic acid and Fe(III)-citrate] but unable to reduce poorly crystalline ferrihydrite (Fh). However, Paenibacillus sp. 300A was capable of reducing Fh in the presence of low concentrations (2 μM) of either of the electron transfer mediators (ETMs) flavin mononucleotide (FMN) or anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS). Maximum initial Fh reduction rates were observed at catalytic concentrations (<10 μM) of either FMN or AQDS. Higher FMN concentrations inhibited Fh reduction, while increased AQDS concentrations did not. We also found that Paenibacillus sp. 300A could reduce Fh in the presence of natural ETMs from Hanford 300A subsurface sediments. In the absence of ETMs, Paenibacillus sp. 300A was capable of immobilizing U(VI) through both reduction and adsorption. The relative contributions of adsorption and microbial reduction to U(VI) removal from the aqueous phase were ∼7:3 in PIPES [piperazine-N,N′-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid)] and ∼1:4 in bicarbonate buffer. Our study demonstrated that Paenibacillus sp. 300A catalyzes Fe(III) reduction and U(VI) immobilization and that these reactions benefit from externally added or naturally existing ETMs in 300A subsurface sediments.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01844-12
PMCID: PMC3485948  PMID: 22961903
3.  Identifying Low pH Active and Lactate-Utilizing Taxa within Oral Microbiome Communities from Healthy Children Using Stable Isotope Probing Techniques 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32219.
Background
Many human microbial infectious diseases including dental caries are polymicrobial in nature. How these complex multi-species communities evolve from a healthy to a diseased state is not well understood. Although many health- or disease-associated oral bacteria have been characterized in vitro, their physiology within the complex oral microbiome is difficult to determine with current approaches. In addition, about half of these species remain uncultivated to date with little known besides their 16S rRNA sequence. Lacking culture-based physiological analyses, the functional roles of uncultivated species will remain enigmatic despite their apparent disease correlation. To start addressing these knowledge gaps, we applied a combination of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) with RNA and DNA based Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) to oral plaque communities from healthy children for in vitro temporal monitoring of metabolites and identification of metabolically active and inactive bacterial species.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Supragingival plaque samples from caries-free children incubated with 13C-substrates under imposed healthy (buffered, pH 7) and diseased states (pH 5.5 and pH 4.5) produced lactate as the dominant organic acid from glucose metabolism. Rapid lactate utilization upon glucose depletion was observed under pH 7 conditions. SIP analyses revealed a number of genera containing cultured and uncultivated taxa with metabolic capabilities at pH 5.5. The diversity of active species decreased significantly at pH 4.5 and was dominated by Lactobacillus and Propionibacterium species, both of which have been previously found within carious lesions from children.
Conclusions/Significance
Our approach allowed for identification of species that metabolize carbohydrates under different pH conditions and supports the importance of Lactobacilli and Propionibacterium in the development of childhood caries. Identification of species within healthy subjects that are active at low pH can lead to a better understanding of oral caries onset and generate appropriate targets for preventative measures in the early stages.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032219
PMCID: PMC3293899  PMID: 22403637
4.  In situ effective diffusion coefficient profiles in live biofilms using pulsed-field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2010;106(6):928-937.
Diffusive mass transfer in biofilms is characterized by the effective diffusion coefficient. It is well-documented that the effective diffusion coefficient can vary by location in a biofilm. The current literature is dominated by effective diffusion coefficient measurements for distinct cell clusters and stratified biofilms showing this spatial variation. Regardless of whether distinct cell clusters or surface-averaging methods are used, position-dependent measurements of the effective diffusion coefficient are currently: 1) invasive to the biofilm, 2) performed under unnatural conditions, 3) lethal to cells, and/or 4) spatially restricted to only certain regions of the biofilm. Invasive measurements can lead to inaccurate results and prohibit further (time-dependent) measurements which are important for the mathematical modeling of biofilms. In this study our goals were to: 1) measure the effective diffusion coefficient for water in live biofilms, 2) monitor how the effective diffusion coefficient changes over time under growth conditions, and 3) correlate the effective diffusion coefficient with depth in the biofilm. We measured in situ two-dimensional effective diffusion coefficient maps within Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 biofilms using pulsed-field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance methods, and used them to calculate surface-averaged relative effective diffusion coefficient (Drs) profiles. We found that 1) Drs decreased from the top of the biofilm to the bottom, 2) Drs profiles differed for biofilms of different ages, 3) Drs profiles changed over time and generally decreased with time, 4) all the biofilms showed very similar Drs profiles near the top of the biofilm, and 5) the Drs profile near the bottom of the biofilm was different for each biofilm. Practically, our results demonstrate that advanced biofilm models should use a variable effective diffusivity which changes with time and location in the biofilm.
doi:10.1002/bit.22755
PMCID: PMC2898744  PMID: 20589671
biofilm; diffusion coefficient; diffusivity; in situ; mass transfer; magnetic resonance imaging; nuclear magnetic resonance; pulsed-field gradients; Shewanella oneidensis
5.  Single Virus Genomics: A New Tool for Virus Discovery 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17722.
Whole genome amplification and sequencing of single microbial cells has significantly influenced genomics and microbial ecology by facilitating direct recovery of reference genome data. However, viral genomics continues to suffer due to difficulties related to the isolation and characterization of uncultivated viruses. We report here on a new approach called ‘Single Virus Genomics’, which enabled the isolation and complete genome sequencing of the first single virus particle. A mixed assemblage comprised of two known viruses; E. coli bacteriophages lambda and T4, were sorted using flow cytometric methods and subsequently immobilized in an agarose matrix. Genome amplification was then achieved in situ via multiple displacement amplification (MDA). The complete lambda phage genome was recovered with an average depth of coverage of approximately 437X. The isolation and genome sequencing of uncultivated viruses using Single Virus Genomics approaches will enable researchers to address questions about viral diversity, evolution, adaptation and ecology that were previously unattainable.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017722
PMCID: PMC3059205  PMID: 21436882
6.  Lack of Bax Prevents Influenza A Virus-Induced Apoptosis and Causes Diminished Viral Replication ▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(16):8233-8246.
The ectopic overexpression of Bcl-2 restricts both influenza A virus-induced apoptosis and influenza A virus replication in MDCK cells, thus suggesting a role for Bcl-2 family members during infection. Here we report that influenza A virus cannot establish an apoptotic response without functional Bax, a downstream target of Bcl-2, and that both Bax and Bak are directly involved in influenza A virus replication and virus-induced cell death. Bak is substantially downregulated during influenza A virus infection in MDCK cells, and the knockout of Bak in mouse embryonic fibroblasts yields a dramatic rise in the rate of apoptotic death and a corresponding increase in levels of virus replication, suggesting that Bak suppresses both apoptosis and the replication of virus and that the virus suppresses Bak. Bax, however, is activated and translocates from the cytosol to the mitochondria; this activation is required for the efficient induction of apoptosis and virus replication. The knockout of Bax in mouse embryonic fibroblasts blocks the induction of apoptosis, restricts the infection-mediated activation of executioner caspases, and inhibits virus propagation. Bax knockout cells still die but by an alternative death pathway displaying characteristics of autophagy, similarly to our previous observation that influenza A virus infection in the presence of a pancaspase inhibitor leads to an increase in levels of autophagy. The knockout of Bax causes a retention of influenza A virus NP within the nucleus. We conclude that the cell and virus struggle to control apoptosis and autophagy, as appropriately timed apoptosis is important for the replication of influenza A virus.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02672-08
PMCID: PMC2715773  PMID: 19494020
7.  The influence of cultivation methods on Shewanella oneidensis physiology and proteome expression 
Archives of Microbiology  2007;189(4):313-324.
High-throughput analyses that are central to microbial systems biology and ecophysiology research benefit from highly homogeneous and physiologically well-defined cell cultures. While attention has focused on the technical variation associated with high-throughput technologies, biological variation introduced as a function of cell cultivation methods has been largely overlooked. This study evaluated the impact of cultivation methods, controlled batch or continuous culture in bioreactors versus shake flasks, on the reproducibility of global proteome measurements in Shewanellaoneidensis MR-1. Variability in dissolved oxygen concentration and consumption rate, metabolite profiles, and proteome was greater in shake flask than controlled batch or chemostat cultures. Proteins indicative of suboxic and anaerobic growth (e.g., fumarate reductase and decaheme c-type cytochromes) were more abundant in cells from shake flasks compared to bioreactor cultures, a finding consistent with data demonstrating that “aerobic” flask cultures were O2 deficient due to poor mass transfer kinetics. The work described herein establishes the necessity of controlled cultivation for ensuring highly reproducible and homogenous microbial cultures. By decreasing cell to cell variability, higher quality samples will allow for the interpretive accuracy necessary for drawing conclusions relevant to microbial systems biology research.
doi:10.1007/s00203-007-0321-y
PMCID: PMC2270922  PMID: 18030449
Controlled cultivation; Systems biology; Proteomics; Shewanella
8.  c-Type Cytochrome-Dependent Formation of U(IV) Nanoparticles by Shewanella oneidensis  
PLoS Biology  2006;4(8):e268.
Modern approaches for bioremediation of radionuclide contaminated environments are based on the ability of microorganisms to effectively catalyze changes in the oxidation states of metals that in turn influence their solubility. Although microbial metal reduction has been identified as an effective means for immobilizing highly-soluble uranium(VI) complexes in situ, the biomolecular mechanisms of U(VI) reduction are not well understood. Here, we show that c-type cytochromes of a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, are essential for the reduction of U(VI) and formation of extracelluar UO 2 nanoparticles. In particular, the outer membrane (OM) decaheme cytochrome MtrC (metal reduction), previously implicated in Mn(IV) and Fe(III) reduction, directly transferred electrons to U(VI). Additionally, deletions of mtrC and/or omcA significantly affected the in vivo U(VI) reduction rate relative to wild-type MR-1. Similar to the wild-type, the mutants accumulated UO 2 nanoparticles extracellularly to high densities in association with an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). In wild-type cells, this UO 2-EPS matrix exhibited glycocalyx-like properties and contained multiple elements of the OM, polysaccharide, and heme-containing proteins. Using a novel combination of methods including synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution immune-electron microscopy, we demonstrate a close association of the extracellular UO 2 nanoparticles with MtrC and OmcA (outer membrane cytochrome). This is the first study to our knowledge to directly localize the OM-associated cytochromes with EPS, which contains biogenic UO 2 nanoparticles. In the environment, such association of UO 2 nanoparticles with biopolymers may exert a strong influence on subsequent behavior including susceptibility to oxidation by O 2 or transport in soils and sediments.
Microorganisms that catalyze changes in oxidation states of metals can be used to decontaminate environments of radionuclides. Here, c-type cytochromes on the outer membrane of a dissimilatory metal reducing bacterium are shown to be essential for the reduction of uranium(VI).
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040268
PMCID: PMC1526764  PMID: 16875436

Results 1-8 (8)