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1.  Biostimulation induces syntrophic interactions that impact C, S and N cycling in a sediment microbial community 
The ISME Journal  2012;7(4):800-816.
Stimulation of subsurface microorganisms to induce reductive immobilization of metals is a promising approach for bioremediation, yet the overall microbial community response is typically poorly understood. Here we used proteogenomics to test the hypothesis that excess input of acetate activates complex community functioning and syntrophic interactions among autotrophs and heterotrophs. A flow-through sediment column was incubated in a groundwater well of an acetate-amended aquifer and recovered during microbial sulfate reduction. De novo reconstruction of community sequences yielded near-complete genomes of Desulfobacter (Deltaproteobacteria), Sulfurovum- and Sulfurimonas-like Epsilonproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Partial genomes were obtained for Clostridiales (Firmicutes) and Desulfuromonadales-like Deltaproteobacteria. The majority of proteins identified by mass spectrometry corresponded to Desulfobacter-like species, and demonstrate the role of this organism in sulfate reduction (Dsr and APS), nitrogen fixation and acetate oxidation to CO2 during amendment. Results indicate less abundant Desulfuromonadales, and possibly Bacteroidetes, also actively contributed to CO2 production via the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Proteomic data indicate that sulfide was partially re-oxidized by Epsilonproteobacteria through nitrate-dependent sulfide oxidation (using Nap, Nir, Nos, SQR and Sox), with CO2 fixed using the reverse TCA cycle. We infer that high acetate concentrations, aimed at stimulating anaerobic heterotrophy, led to the co-enrichment of, and carbon fixation in Epsilonproteobacteria. Results give an insight into ecosystem behavior following addition of simple organic carbon to the subsurface, and demonstrate a range of biological processes and community interactions were stimulated.
doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.148
PMCID: PMC3603403  PMID: 23190730
autotroph; metagenomics; proteomics; sediment; subsurface; syntrophy
2.  An Experimental Approach to Controllably Vary Protein Oxidation While Minimizing Electrode Adsorption for Boron-Doped Diamond Electrochemical Surface Mapping Applications 
Analytical chemistry  2012;85(1):213-219.
Oxidative protein surface mapping has become a powerful approach for measuring the solvent accessibility of folded protein structures. A variety of techniques exist for generating the key reagent – hydroxyl radicals – for these measurements; however, these approaches range significantly in their complexity and expense of operation. This research expands upon earlier work to enhance the controllability of boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrochemistry as an easily accessible tool for producing hydroxyl radicals in order to oxidize a range of intact proteins. Efforts to modulate oxidation level while minimizing the adsorption of protein to the electrode involved the use of relatively high flow rates to reduce protein residence time inside the electrochemical flow chamber. Additionally, a different cell activation approach using variable voltage to supply a controlled current allowed us to precisely tune the extent of oxidation in a protein-dependent manner. In order to gain perspective on the level of protein adsorption onto the electrode surface, studies were conducted to monitor protein concentration during electrolysis and gauge changes in the electrode surface between cell activation events. This report demonstrates the successful use of BDD electrochemistry for greater precision in generating a target number of oxidation events upon intact proteins.
doi:10.1021/ac302418t
PMCID: PMC3549720  PMID: 23210708
Protein structure; mass spectrometry; boron-doped diamond electrochemistry; covalent label; hydroxyl radical; solvent accessibility; oxidative surface mapping
3.  Insights into the Structure and Metabolic Function of Microbes That Shape Pelagic Iron-Rich Aggregates (“Iron Snow”) 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(14):4272-4281.
Microbial ferrous iron [Fe(II)] oxidation leads to the formation of iron-rich macroscopic aggregates (“iron snow”) at the redoxcline in a stratified lignite mine lake in east-central Germany. We aimed to identify the abundant Fe-oxidizing and Fe-reducing microorganisms likely to be involved in the formation and transformation of iron snow present in the redoxcline in two basins of the lake that differ in their pH values. Nucleic acid- and lipid-stained microbial cells of various morphologies detected by confocal laser scanning microscopy were homogeneously distributed in all iron snow samples. The dominant iron mineral appeared to be schwertmannite, with shorter needles in the northern than in the central basin samples. Total bacterial 16S rRNA gene copies ranged from 5.0 × 108 copies g (dry weight)−1 in the acidic central lake basin (pH 3.3) to 4.0 × 1010 copies g (dry weight)−1 in the less acidic (pH 5.9) northern basin. Total RNA-based quantitative PCR assigned up to 61% of metabolically active microbial communities to Fe-oxidizing- and Fe-reducing-related bacteria, indicating that iron metabolism was an important metabolic strategy. Molecular identification of abundant groups suggested that iron snow surfaces were formed by chemoautotrophic iron oxidizers, such as Acidimicrobium, Ferrovum, Acidithiobacillus, Thiobacillus, and Chlorobium, in the redoxcline and were rapidly colonized by heterotrophic iron reducers, such as Acidiphilium, Albidiferax-like, and Geobacter-like groups. Metaproteomics yielded 283 different proteins from northern basin iron snow samples, and protein identification provided a glimpse into some of their in situ metabolic processes, such as primary production (CO2 fixation), respiration, motility, and survival strategies.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00467-13
PMCID: PMC3697501  PMID: 23645202
4.  New Group in the Leptospirillum Clade: Cultivation-Independent Community Genomics, Proteomics, and Transcriptomics of the New Species “Leptospirillum Group IV UBA BS” 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(17):5384-5393.
Leptospirillum spp. are widespread members of acidophilic microbial communities that catalyze ferrous iron oxidation, thereby increasing sulfide mineral dissolution rates. These bacteria play important roles in environmental acidification and are harnessed for bioleaching-based metal recovery. Known members of the Leptospirillum clade of the Nitrospira phylum are Leptospirillum ferrooxidans (group I), Leptospirillum ferriphilum and “Leptospirillum rubarum” (group II), and Leptospirillum ferrodiazotrophum (group III). In the Richmond Mine acid mine drainage (AMD) system, biofilm formation is initiated by L. rubarum; L. ferrodiazotrophum appears in later developmental stages. Here we used community metagenomic data from unusual, thick floating biofilms to identify distinguishing metabolic traits in a rare and uncultivated community member, the new species “Leptospirillum group IV UBA BS.” These biofilms typically also contain a variety of Archaea, Actinobacteria, and a few other Leptospirillum spp. The Leptospirillum group IV UBA BS species shares 98% 16S rRNA sequence identity and 70% average amino acid identity between orthologs with its closest relative, L. ferrodiazotrophum. The presence of nitrogen fixation and reverse tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle proteins suggest an autotrophic metabolism similar to that of L. ferrodiazotrophum, while hydrogenase proteins suggest anaerobic metabolism. Community transcriptomic and proteomic analyses demonstrate expression of a multicopper oxidase unique to this species, as well as hydrogenases and core metabolic genes. Results suggest that the Leptospirillum group IV UBA BS species might play important roles in carbon fixation, nitrogen fixation, hydrogen metabolism, and iron oxidation in some acidic environments.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00202-13
PMCID: PMC3753937  PMID: 23645189
5.  Effects of Diet on Resource Utilization by a Model Human Gut Microbiota Containing Bacteroides cellulosilyticus WH2, a Symbiont with an Extensive Glycobiome 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(8):e1001637.
Artificial human gut microbial communities implanted into germ-free mice provide insights into how species-level responses to changes in diet give rise to community-level structural and functional reconfiguration and how types of bacteria prioritize use of available nutrients in vivo.
The human gut microbiota is an important metabolic organ, yet little is known about how its individual species interact, establish dominant positions, and respond to changes in environmental factors such as diet. In this study, gnotobiotic mice were colonized with an artificial microbiota comprising 12 sequenced human gut bacterial species and fed oscillating diets of disparate composition. Rapid, reproducible, and reversible changes in the structure of this assemblage were observed. Time-series microbial RNA-Seq analyses revealed staggered functional responses to diet shifts throughout the assemblage that were heavily focused on carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. High-resolution shotgun metaproteomics confirmed many of these responses at a protein level. One member, Bacteroides cellulosilyticus WH2, proved exceptionally fit regardless of diet. Its genome encoded more carbohydrate active enzymes than any previously sequenced member of the Bacteroidetes. Transcriptional profiling indicated that B. cellulosilyticus WH2 is an adaptive forager that tailors its versatile carbohydrate utilization strategy to available dietary polysaccharides, with a strong emphasis on plant-derived xylans abundant in dietary staples like cereal grains. Two highly expressed, diet-specific polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs) in B. cellulosilyticus WH2 were identified, one with characteristics of xylan utilization systems. Introduction of a B. cellulosilyticus WH2 library comprising >90,000 isogenic transposon mutants into gnotobiotic mice, along with the other artificial community members, confirmed that these loci represent critical diet-specific fitness determinants. Carbohydrates that trigger dramatic increases in expression of these two loci and many of the organism's 111 other predicted PULs were identified by RNA-Seq during in vitro growth on 31 distinct carbohydrate substrates, allowing us to better interpret in vivo RNA-Seq and proteomics data. These results offer insight into how gut microbes adapt to dietary perturbations at both a community level and from the perspective of a well-adapted symbiont with exceptional saccharolytic capabilities, and illustrate the value of artificial communities.
Author Summary
Our intestines are populated by an almost unimaginably large number of microbial cells, most of which are bacteria. This species assemblage operates as a microbial metabolic organ, performing myriad tasks that contribute to our well-being, including processing components of our diet. The way this incredible machine assembles itself and operates remains mysterious. One approach to understanding its properties is to create artificial communities composed of a limited number of sequenced human gut bacterial species and to install them in the guts of germ-free mice that are then fed different diets. In this report, we adopt this approach. We describe the genome sequence of a new gut bacterial isolate, Bacteroides cellulosilyticus WH2, which is equipped with an unprecedented number of carbohydrate active enzymes. Deploying four different “omics” technologies, we characterize the response to diet, the relative stability, and the temporal dynamics of a 12-species artificial bacterial assemblage (including B. cellulosilyticus WH2) implanted in germ-free mouse guts. We also combine high-throughput substrate utilization screens and RNA-Seq to generate reference data analogous to a “Rosetta stone” in order to decipher what types of carbohydrates B. cellulosilyticus encounters and uses within the gut, and how it interacts with other organisms that have similar and/or distinct “professions.” This work sets the stage for future ecological and metabolic studies of more complex assemblages that more fully emulate the properties of our native gut communities.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001637
PMCID: PMC3747994  PMID: 23976882
6.  Role of the CipA Scaffoldin Protein in Cellulose Solubilization, as Determined by Targeted Gene Deletion and Complementation in Clostridium thermocellum 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(4):733-739.
The CipA scaffoldin protein plays a key role in the Clostridium thermocellum cellulosome. Previous studies have revealed that mutants deficient in binding or solubilizing cellulose also exhibit reduced expression of CipA. To confirm that CipA is, in fact, necessary for rapid solubilization of crystalline cellulose, the gene was deleted from the chromosome using targeted gene deletion technologies. The CipA deletion mutant exhibited a 100-fold reduction in cellulose solubilization rate, although it was eventually able to solubilize 80% of the 5 g/liter cellulose initially present. The deletion mutant was complemented by a copy of cipA expressed from a replicating plasmid. In this strain, Avicelase activity was restored, although the rate was 2-fold lower than that in the wild type and the duration of the lag phase was increased. The cipA coding sequence is located at the beginning of a gene cluster containing several other genes thought to be responsible for the structural organization of the cellulosome, including olpB, orf2p, and olpA. Tandem mass spectrometry revealed a 10-fold reduction in the expression of olpB, which may explain the lower growth rate. This deletion experiment adds further evidence that CipA plays a key role in cellulose solubilization by C. thermocellum, and it raises interesting questions about the differential roles of the anchor scaffoldin proteins OlpB, Orf2p, and SdbA.
doi:10.1128/JB.02014-12
PMCID: PMC3562095  PMID: 23204466
7.  Heterotrophic Archaea Contribute to Carbon Cycling in Low-pH, Suboxic Biofilm Communities 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(23):8321-8330.
Archaea are widely distributed and yet are most often not the most abundant members of microbial communities. Here, we document a transition from Bacteria- to Archaea-dominated communities in microbial biofilms sampled from the Richmond Mine acid mine drainage (AMD) system (∼pH 1.0, ∼38°C) and in laboratory-cultivated biofilms. This transition occurs when chemoautotrophic microbial communities that develop at the air-solution interface sink to the sediment-solution interface and degrade under microaerobic and anaerobic conditions. The archaea identified in these sunken biofilms are from the class Thermoplasmata, and in some cases, the highly divergent ARMAN nanoarchaeal lineage. In several of the sunken biofilms, nanoarchaea comprise 10 to 25% of the community, based on fluorescent in situ hybridization and metagenomic analyses. Comparative community proteomic analyses show a persistence of bacterial proteins in sunken biofilms, but there is clear evidence for amino acid modifications due to acid hydrolysis. Given the low representation of bacterial cells in sunken biofilms based on microscopy, we infer that hydrolysis reflects proteins derived from lysed cells. For archaea, we detected ∼2,400 distinct proteins, including a subset involved in proteolysis and peptide uptake. Laboratory cultivation experiments using complex carbon substrates demonstrated anaerobic enrichment of Ferroplasma and Aplasma coupled to the reduction of ferric iron. These findings indicate dominance of acidophilic archaea in degrading biofilms and suggest that they play roles in anaerobic nutrient cycling at low pH.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01938-12
PMCID: PMC3497393  PMID: 23001646
9.  Caldicellulosiruptor Core and Pangenomes Reveal Determinants for Noncellulosomal Thermophilic Deconstruction of Plant Biomass 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(15):4015-4028.
Extremely thermophilic bacteria of the genus Caldicellulosiruptor utilize carbohydrate components of plant cell walls, including cellulose and hemicellulose, facilitated by a diverse set of glycoside hydrolases (GHs). From a biofuel perspective, this capability is crucial for deconstruction of plant biomass into fermentable sugars. While all species from the genus grow on xylan and acid-pretreated switchgrass, growth on crystalline cellulose is variable. The basis for this variability was examined using microbiological, genomic, and proteomic analyses of eight globally diverse Caldicellulosiruptor species. The open Caldicellulosiruptor pangenome (4,009 open reading frames [ORFs]) encodes 106 GHs, representing 43 GH families, but only 26 GHs from 17 families are included in the core (noncellulosic) genome (1,543 ORFs). Differentiating the strongly cellulolytic Caldicellulosiruptor species from the others is a specific genomic locus that encodes multidomain cellulases from GH families 9 and 48, which are associated with cellulose-binding modules. This locus also encodes a novel adhesin associated with type IV pili, which was identified in the exoproteome bound to crystalline cellulose. Taking into account the core genomes, pangenomes, and individual genomes, the ancestral Caldicellulosiruptor was likely cellulolytic and evolved, in some cases, into species that lost the ability to degrade crystalline cellulose while maintaining the capacity to hydrolyze amorphous cellulose and hemicellulose.
doi:10.1128/JB.00266-12
PMCID: PMC3416521  PMID: 22636774
10.  Integrated Metagenomics/Metaproteomics Reveals Human Host-Microbiota Signatures of Crohn's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49138.
Crohn's disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disease of complex etiology, although dysbiosis of the gut microbiota has been implicated in chronic immune-mediated inflammation associated with CD. Here we combined shotgun metagenomic and metaproteomic approaches to identify potential functional signatures of CD in stool samples from six twin pairs that were either healthy, or that had CD in the ileum (ICD) or colon (CCD). Integration of these omics approaches revealed several genes, proteins, and pathways that primarily differentiated ICD from healthy subjects, including depletion of many proteins in ICD. In addition, the ICD phenotype was associated with alterations in bacterial carbohydrate metabolism, bacterial-host interactions, as well as human host-secreted enzymes. This eco-systems biology approach underscores the link between the gut microbiota and functional alterations in the pathophysiology of Crohn's disease and aids in identification of novel diagnostic targets and disease specific biomarkers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049138
PMCID: PMC3509130  PMID: 23209564
11.  Clostridium thermocellum ATCC27405 transcriptomic, metabolomic and proteomic profiles after ethanol stress 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:336.
Background
Clostridium thermocellum is a candidate consolidated bioprocessing biocatalyst, which is a microorganism that expresses enzymes for both cellulose hydrolysis and its fermentation to produce fuels such as lignocellulosic ethanol. However, C. thermocellum is relatively sensitive to ethanol compared to ethanologenic microorganisms such as yeast and Zymomonas mobilis that are used in industrial fermentations but do not possess native enzymes for industrial cellulose hydrolysis.
Results
In this study, C. thermocellum was grown to mid-exponential phase and then treated with ethanol to a final concentration of 3.9 g/L to investigate its physiological and regulatory responses to ethanol stress. Samples were taken pre-shock and 2, 12, 30, 60, 120, and 240 min post-shock, and from untreated control fermentations for systems biology analyses. Cell growth was arrested by ethanol supplementation with intracellular accumulation of carbon sources such as cellobiose, and sugar phosphates, including fructose-6-phosphate and glucose-6-phosphate. The largest response of C. thermocellum to ethanol shock treatment was in genes and proteins related to nitrogen uptake and metabolism, which is likely important for redirecting the cells physiology to overcome inhibition and allow growth to resume.
Conclusion
This study suggests possible avenues for metabolic engineering and provides comprehensive, integrated systems biology datasets that will be useful for future metabolic modeling and strain development endeavors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-336
PMCID: PMC3478167  PMID: 22823947
12.  Quantitative proteomic analyses of the response of acidophilic microbial communities to different pH conditions 
The ISME Journal  2011;5(7):1152-1161.
Extensive genomic characterization of multi-species acid mine drainage microbial consortia combined with laboratory cultivation has enabled the application of quantitative proteomic analyses at the community level. In this study, quantitative proteomic comparisons were used to functionally characterize laboratory-cultivated acidophilic communities sustained in pH 1.45 or 0.85 conditions. The distributions of all proteins identified for individual organisms indicated biases for either high or low pH, and suggests pH-specific niche partitioning for low abundance bacteria and archaea. Although the proteome of the dominant bacterium, Leptospirillum group II, was largely unaffected by pH treatments, analysis of functional categories indicated proteins involved in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism, as well as cell membrane/envelope biogenesis were overrepresented at high pH. Comparison of specific protein abundances indicates higher pH conditions favor Leptospirillum group III, whereas low pH conditions promote the growth of certain archaea. Thus, quantitative proteomic comparisons revealed distinct differences in community composition and metabolic function of individual organisms during different pH treatments. Proteomic analysis revealed other aspects of community function. Different numbers of phage proteins were identified across biological replicates, indicating stochastic spatial heterogeneity of phage outbreaks. Additionally, proteomic data were used to identify a previously unknown genotypic variant of Leptospirillum group II, an indication of selection for a specific Leptospirillum group II population in laboratory communities. Our results confirm the importance of pH and related geochemical factors in fine-tuning acidophilic microbial community structure and function at the species and strain level, and demonstrate the broad utility of proteomics in laboratory community studies.
doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.200
PMCID: PMC3146278  PMID: 21228889
acid mine drainage; communities; genotyping; perturbation; proteomics
13.  Phage-Induced Expression of CRISPR-Associated Proteins Is Revealed by Shotgun Proteomics in Streptococcus thermophilus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38077.
The CRISPR/Cas system, comprised of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats along with their associated (Cas) proteins, protects bacteria and archaea from viral predation and invading nucleic acids. While the mechanism of action for this acquired immunity is currently under investigation, the response of Cas protein expression to phage infection has yet to be elucidated. In this study, we employed shotgun proteomics to measure the global proteome expression in a model system for studying the CRISPR/Cas response in S. thermophilus DGCC7710 infected with phage 2972. Host and viral proteins were simultaneously measured following inoculation at two different multiplicities of infection and across various time points using two-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Thirty-seven out of forty predicted viral proteins were detected, including all proteins of the structural virome and viral effector proteins. In total, 1,013 of 2,079 predicted S. thermophilus proteins were detected, facilitating the monitoring of host protein synthesis changes in response to virus infection. Importantly, Cas proteins from all four CRISPR loci in the S. thermophilus DGCC7710 genome were detected, including loci previously thought to be inactive. Many Cas proteins were found to be constitutively expressed, but several demonstrated increased abundance following infection, including the signature Cas9 proteins from the CRISPR1 and CRISPR3 loci, which are key players in the interference phase of the CRISPR/Cas response. Altogether, these results provide novel insights into the proteomic response of S. thermophilus, specifically CRISPR-associated proteins, upon phage 2972 infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038077
PMCID: PMC3364186  PMID: 22666452
14.  Identification of Biofilm Matrix-Associated Proteins from an Acid Mine Drainage Microbial Community ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(15):5230-5237.
In microbial communities, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), also called the extracellular matrix, provide the spatial organization and structural stability during biofilm development. One of the major components of EPS is protein, but it is not clear what specific functions these proteins contribute to the extracellular matrix or to microbial physiology. To investigate this in biofilms from an extremely acidic environment, we used shotgun proteomics analyses to identify proteins associated with EPS in biofilms at two developmental stages, designated DS1 and DS2. The proteome composition of the EPS was significantly different from that of the cell fraction, with more than 80% of the cellular proteins underrepresented or undetectable in EPS. In contrast, predicted periplasmic, outer membrane, and extracellular proteins were overrepresented by 3- to 7-fold in EPS. Also, EPS proteins were more basic by ∼2 pH units on average and about half the length. When categorized by predicted function, proteins involved in motility, defense, cell envelope, and unknown functions were enriched in EPS. Chaperones, such as histone-like DNA binding protein and cold shock protein, were overrepresented in EPS. Enzymes, such as protein peptidases, disulfide-isomerases, and those associated with cell wall and polysaccharide metabolism, were also detected. Two of these enzymes, identified as β-N-acetylhexosaminidase and cellulase, were confirmed in the EPS fraction by enzymatic activity assays. Compared to the differences between EPS and cellular fractions, the relative differences in the EPS proteomes between DS1 and DS2 were smaller and consistent with expected physiological changes during biofilm development.
doi:10.1128/AEM.03005-10
PMCID: PMC3147463  PMID: 21685158
15.  Use of Label-Free Quantitative Proteomics To Distinguish the Secreted Cellulolytic Systems of Caldicellulosiruptor bescii and Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(12):4042-4054.
The extremely thermophilic, Gram-positive bacteria Caldicellulosiruptor bescii and Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis efficiently degrade both cellulose and hemicellulose, which makes them relevant models for lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction to produce sustainable biofuels. To identify the shared and unique features of secreted cellulolytic apparatuses from C. bescii and C. obsidiansis, label-free quantitative proteomics was used to analyze protein abundance over the course of fermentative growth on crystalline cellulose. Both organisms' secretomes consisted of more than 400 proteins, of which the most abundant were multidomain glycosidases, extracellular solute-binding proteins, flagellin, putative pectate lyases, and uncharacterized proteins with predicted secretion signals. Among the identified proteins, 53 to 57 significantly changed in abundance during cellulose fermentation in favor of glycosidases and extracellular binding proteins. Mass spectrometric characterizations, together with cellulase activity measurements, revealed a substantial abundance increase of a few bifunctional multidomain glycosidases composed of glycosidase (GH) domain family 5, 9, 10, 44, or 48 and family 3 carbohydrate binding (CBM3) modules. In addition to their orthologous cellulases, the organisms expressed unique glycosidases with different domain organizations: C. obsidiansis expressed the COB47_1671 protein with GH10/5 domains, while C. bescii expressed the Athe_1857 (GH10/48) and Athe_1859 (GH5/44) proteins. Glycosidases containing CBM3 domains were selectively enriched via binding to amorphous cellulose. Preparations from both bacteria contained highly thermostable enzymes with optimal cellulase activities at 85°C and pH 5. The C. obsidiansis preparation, however, had higher cellulase specific activity and greater thermostability. The C. bescii culture produced more extracellular protein and additional SDS-PAGE bands that demonstrated glycosidase activity.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02811-10
PMCID: PMC3131623  PMID: 21498747
16.  Strategies for Metagenomic-Guided Whole-Community Proteomics of Complex Microbial Environments 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27173.
Accurate protein identification in large-scale proteomics experiments relies upon a detailed, accurate protein catalogue, which is derived from predictions of open reading frames based on genome sequence data. Integration of mass spectrometry-based proteomics data with computational proteome predictions from environmental metagenomic sequences has been challenging because of the variable overlap between proteomic datasets and corresponding short-read nucleotide sequence data. In this study, we have benchmarked several strategies for increasing microbial peptide spectral matching in metaproteomic datasets using protein predictions generated from matched metagenomic sequences from the same human fecal samples. Additionally, we investigated the impact of mass spectrometry-based filters (high mass accuracy, delta correlation), and de novo peptide sequencing on the number and robustness of peptide-spectrum assignments in these complex datasets. In summary, we find that high mass accuracy peptide measurements searched against non-assembled reads from DNA sequencing of the same samples significantly increased identifiable proteins without sacrificing accuracy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027173
PMCID: PMC3223167  PMID: 22132090
17.  Comparative shotgun proteomic analysis of Clostridium acetobutylicum from butanol fermentation using glucose and xylose 
Proteome Science  2011;9:66.
Background
Butanol is a second generation biofuel produced by Clostridium acetobutylicum through acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation process. Shotgun proteomics provides a direct approach to study the whole proteome of an organism in depth. This paper focuses on shotgun proteomic profiling of C. acetobutylicum from ABE fermentation using glucose and xylose to understand the functional mechanisms of C. acetobutylicum proteins involved in butanol production.
Results
We identified 894 different proteins in C. acetobutylicum from ABE fermentation process by two dimensional - liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry (2D-LC-MS/MS) method. This includes 717 proteins from glucose and 826 proteins from the xylose substrate. A total of 649 proteins were found to be common and 22 significantly differentially expressed proteins were identified between glucose and xylose substrates.
Conclusion
Our results demonstrate that flagellar proteins are highly up-regulated with glucose compared to xylose substrate during ABE fermentation. Chemotactic activity was also found to be lost with the xylose substrate due to the absence of CheW and CheV proteins. This is the first report on the shotgun proteomic analysis of C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824 in ABE fermentation between glucose and xylose substrate from a single time data point and the number of proteins identified here is more than any other study performed on this organism up to this report.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-9-66
PMCID: PMC3212805  PMID: 22008648
Butanol; ABE fermentation; Clostridium acetobutylicum; shotgun proteomics; mass spectrometry
19.  Proteomic Characterization of Cellular and Molecular Processes that Enable the Nanoarchaeum equitans-Ignicoccus hospitalis Relationship 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22942.
Nanoarchaeum equitans, the only cultured representative of the Nanoarchaeota, is dependent on direct physical contact with its host, the hyperthermophile Ignicoccus hospitalis. The molecular mechanisms that enable this relationship are unknown. Using whole-cell proteomics, differences in the relative abundance of >75% of predicted protein-coding genes from both Archaea were measured to identify the specific response of I. hospitalis to the presence of N. equitans on its surface. A purified N. equitans sample was also analyzed for evidence of interspecies protein transfer. The depth of cellular proteome coverage achieved here is amongst the highest reported for any organism. Based on changes in the proteome under the specific conditions of this study, I. hospitalis reacts to N. equitans by curtailing genetic information processing (replication, transcription) in lieu of intensifying its energetic, protein processing and cellular membrane functions. We found no evidence of significant Ignicoccus biosynthetic enzymes being transported to N. equitans. These results suggest that, under laboratory conditions, N. equitans diverts some of its host's metabolism and cell cycle control to compensate for its own metabolic shortcomings, thus appearing to be entirely dependent on small, transferable metabolites and energetic precursors from I. hospitalis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022942
PMCID: PMC3149612  PMID: 21826220
20.  Quantitative Tracking of Isotope Flows in Proteomes of Microbial Communities* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2011;10(4):M110.006049.
Stable isotope probing (SIP) has been used to track nutrient flows in microbial communities, but existing protein-based SIP methods capable of quantifying the degree of label incorporation into peptides and proteins have been demonstrated only by targeting usually less than 100 proteins per sample. Our method automatically (i) identifies the sequence of and (ii) quantifies the degree of heavy atom enrichment for thousands of proteins from microbial community proteome samples. These features make our method suitable for comparing isotopic differences between closely related protein sequences, and for detecting labeling patterns in low-abundance proteins or proteins derived from rare community members. The proteomic SIP method was validated using proteome samples of known stable isotope incorporation levels at 0.4%, ∼50%, and ∼98%. The method was then used to monitor incorporation of 15N into established and regrowing microbial biofilms. The results indicate organism-specific migration patterns from established communities into regrowing communities and provide insights into metabolism during biofilm formation. The proteomic SIP method can be extended to many systems to track fluxes of 13C or 15N in microbial communities.
doi:10.1074/mcp.M110.006049
PMCID: PMC3069347  PMID: 21285414
21.  Insights into plant biomass conversion from the genome of the anaerobic thermophilic bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii DSM 6725 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(8):3240-3254.
Caldicellulosiruptor bescii DSM 6725 utilizes various polysaccharides and grows efficiently on untreated high-lignin grasses and hardwood at an optimum temperature of ∼80°C. It is a promising anaerobic bacterium for studying high-temperature biomass conversion. Its genome contains 2666 protein-coding sequences organized into 1209 operons. Expression of 2196 genes (83%) was confirmed experimentally. At least 322 genes appear to have been obtained by lateral gene transfer (LGT). Putative functions were assigned to 364 conserved/hypothetical protein (C/HP) genes. The genome contains 171 and 88 genes related to carbohydrate transport and utilization, respectively. Growth on cellulose led to the up-regulation of 32 carbohydrate-active (CAZy), 61 sugar transport, 25 transcription factor and 234 C/HP genes. Some C/HPs were overproduced on cellulose or xylan, suggesting their involvement in polysaccharide conversion. A unique feature of the genome is enrichment with genes encoding multi-modular, multi-functional CAZy proteins organized into one large cluster, the products of which are proposed to act synergistically on different components of plant cell walls and to aid the ability of C. bescii to convert plant biomass. The high duplication of CAZy domains coupled with the ability to acquire foreign genes by LGT may have allowed the bacterium to rapidly adapt to changing plant biomass-rich environments.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkq1281
PMCID: PMC3082886  PMID: 21227922
22.  Metabolome-Proteome Differentiation Coupled to Microbial Divergence 
mBio  2010;1(5):e00246-10.
Tandem high-throughput proteomics and metabolomics were employed to functionally characterize natural microbial biofilm communities. Distinct molecular signatures exist for each analyzed sample. Deconvolution of the high-resolution molecular data demonstrates that identified proteins and detected metabolites exhibit organism-specific correlation patterns. These patterns are reflective of the functional differentiation of two bacterial species that share the same genus and that co-occur in the sampled microbial communities. Our analyses indicate that the two species have similar niche breadths and are not in strong competition with one another.
IMPORTANCE
Natural microbial assemblages represent dynamic consortia that exhibit extensive complexity at all levels. In the present study, we demonstrate that correlations between protein and metabolite abundances allow the deconvolution of complex molecular data sets into shared and organism-specific contingents. We demonstrate that evolutionary divergence is associated with the restructuring of cellular metabolic networks, which in turn allows bacterial species to occupy distinct ecological niches. The apparent lack of interspecific competition may explain the extensive population-level genetic heterogeneity observed extensively within microbial communities. The reported findings have broad implications for the in-depth investigation of the ecology and evolution of distinct microbial community members and for leveraging the solution of cryptic metabolic processes in the future.
doi:10.1128/mBio.00246-10
PMCID: PMC2962434  PMID: 20978538
24.  Ecological distribution and population physiology defined by proteomics in a natural microbial community 
Community proteomics applied to natural microbial biofilms resolves how the physiology of different populations from a model ecosystem change with measured environmental factors in situ.The initial colonists, Leptospirillum Group II bacteria, persist throughout ecological succession and dominate all communities, a pattern that resembles community assembly patterns in some macroecological systems.Interspecies interactions, and not abiotic environmental factors, demonstrate the strongest correlation to physiological changes of Leptospirillum Group II.Environmental niches of subdominant populations seem to be determined by combinations of specific sets of abiotic environmental factors.
A fundamental question in microbial ecology addresses how organisms regulate their metabolic activities within natural communities as environmental constraints and population structures change. Recent advances in molecular biology have allowed for investigation into the physiology of organisms within natural settings, opening the door to understanding microbial metabolic responses in situ. Here, we have examined how a diverse set of organisms from microbial biofilms alters their protein complements as environmental parameters change and as ecological succession occurs. We find that, when growing in newly formed biofilms, the dominant organism within these communities exhibits a metabolism focused on rapid growth, protein synthesis, and stress defense. As community succession proceeds and secondary colonizers populate maturing biofilms, this organism's metabolism switches to one focused on synthesizing many essential cellular components, including amino acids, DNA, and carbohydrates. We also find that the metabolism of this organism is not strongly influenced by external environmental factors over the range of conditions studied. In addition, the protein complements of secondary colonizers seem to be highly responsive to changes in specific environmental parameters (e.g. pH, conductivity, temperature), which may limit their distribution across this environment. These findings provide insight into which of these environmental factors may drive community assembly in a natural microbial assemblage, and, in turn, may influence the metabolism of individual populations.
An important challenge in microbial ecology is developing methods that simultaneously examine the physiology of organisms at the molecular level and their ecosystem level interactions in complex natural systems. We integrated extensive proteomic, geochemical, and biological information from 28 microbial communities collected from an acid mine drainage environment and representing a range of biofilm development stages and geochemical conditions to evaluate how the physiologies of the dominant and less abundant organisms change along environmental gradients. The initial colonist dominates across all environments, but its proteome changes between two stable states as communities diversify, implying that interspecies interactions affect this organism's metabolism. Its overall physiology is robust to abiotic environmental factors, but strong correlations exist between these factors and certain subsets of proteins, possibly accounting for its wide environmental distribution. Lower abundance populations are patchier in their distribution, and proteomic data indicate that their environmental niches may be constrained by specific sets of abiotic environmental factors. This research establishes an effective strategy to investigate ecological relationships between microbial physiology and the environment for whole communities in situ.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.30
PMCID: PMC2913395  PMID: 20531404
community structure; metaproteomics; microbial ecology; model community; succession
25.  Proteomics reveals a core molecular response of Pseudomonas putida F1 to acute chromate challenge 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:311.
Background
Pseudomonas putida is a model organism for bioremediation because of its remarkable metabolic versatility, extensive biodegradative functions, and ubiquity in contaminated soil environments. To further the understanding of molecular pathways responding to the heavy metal chromium(VI) [Cr(VI)], the proteome of aerobically grown, Cr(VI)-stressed P. putida strain F1 was characterized within the context of two disparate nutritional environments: rich (LB) media and minimal (M9L) media containing lactate as the sole carbon source.
Results
Growth studies demonstrated that F1 sensitivity to Cr(VI) was impacted substantially by nutrient conditions, with a carbon-source-dependent hierarchy (lactate > glucose >> acetate) observed in minimal media. Two-dimensional HPLC-MS/MS was employed to identify differential proteome profiles generated in response to 1 mM chromate under LB and M9L growth conditions. The immediate response to Cr(VI) in LB-grown cells was up-regulation of proteins involved in inorganic ion transport, secondary metabolite biosynthesis and catabolism, and amino acid metabolism. By contrast, the chromate-responsive proteome derived under defined minimal growth conditions was characterized predominantly by up-regulated proteins related to cell envelope biogenesis, inorganic ion transport, and motility. TonB-dependent siderophore receptors involved in ferric iron acquisition and amino acid adenylation domains characterized up-regulated systems under LB-Cr(VI) conditions, while DNA repair proteins and systems scavenging sulfur from alternative sources (e.g., aliphatic sulfonates) tended to predominate the up-regulated proteome profile obtained under M9L-Cr(VI) conditions.
Conclusions
Comparative analysis indicated that the core molecular response to chromate, irrespective of the nutritional conditions tested, comprised seven up-regulated proteins belonging to six different functional categories including transcription, inorganic ion transport/metabolism, and amino acid transport/metabolism. These proteins might potentially serve as indicators of chromate stress in natural microbial communities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-311
PMCID: PMC2996968  PMID: 20482812

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