References of "Frontiers in Microbiology"
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See detailThe RNA Complement of Outer Membrane Vesicles From Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Under Distinct Culture Conditions
Malabirade, Antoine UL; Habier, Janine UL; Heintz-Buschart, Anna et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2018), 9

Bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), as well as OMV-associated small RNAs, have been demonstrated to play a role in host–pathogen interactions. The presence of larger RNA transcripts in OMVs has been ... [more ▼]

Bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), as well as OMV-associated small RNAs, have been demonstrated to play a role in host–pathogen interactions. The presence of larger RNA transcripts in OMVs has been less studied and their potential role in host–pathogen interactions remains largely unknown. Here we analyze RNA from OMVs secreted by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) cultured under different conditions, which mimic host–pathogen interactions. S. Typhimurium was grown to exponential and stationary growth phases in minimal growth control medium (phosphate-carbon-nitrogen, PCN), as well as in acidic and phosphate-depleted PCN, comparable to the macrophage environment and inducing therefore the expression of Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) genes. Moreover, Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1), which is required for virulence during the intestinal phase of infection, was induced by culturing S. Typhimurium to the stationary phase in Lysogeny Broth (LB). For each condition, we identified OMV-associated RNAs that are enriched in the extracellular environment relative to the intracellular space. All RNA classes could be observed, but a vast majority of rRNA was exported in all conditions in variable proportions with a notable decrease in LB SPI-1 inducing media. Several mRNAs and ncRNAs were specifically enriched in/on OMVs dependent on the growth conditions. Important to note is that some RNAs showed identical read coverage profiles intracellularly and extracellularly, whereas distinct coverage patterns were observed for other transcripts, suggesting a specific processing or degradation. Moreover, PCR experiments confirmed that distinct RNAs were present in or on OMVs as full-length transcripts (IsrB-1/2; IsrA; ffs; SsrS; CsrC; pSLT035; 10Sa; rnpB; STM0277; sseB; STM0972; STM2606), whereas others seemed to be rather present in a processed or degraded form. Finally, we show by a digestion protection assay that OMVs are able to prevent enzymatic degradation of given full-length transcripts (SsrS, CsrC, 10Sa, and rnpB). In summary, we show that OMV-associated RNA is clearly different in distinct culture conditions and that at least a fraction of the extracellular RNA is associated as a full-length transcripts with OMVs, indicating that some RNAs are protected by OMVs and thereby leaving open the possibility that those might be functionally active. [less ▲]

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See detailWeak Iron Oxidation by Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans Maintains a Favorable Redox Potential for Chalcopyrite Bioleaching
Christel, Stephan; Herold, Malte UL; Bellenberg, Sören et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2018), 9(December), 1-12

Bioleaching is an emerging technology, describing the microbially assisted dissolution of sulfidic ores that provides a more environmentally friendly alternative to many traditional metal extraction ... [more ▼]

Bioleaching is an emerging technology, describing the microbially assisted dissolution of sulfidic ores that provides a more environmentally friendly alternative to many traditional metal extraction methods, such as roasting or smelting. Industrial interest is steadily increasing and today, circa 15–20% of the world’s copper production can be traced back to this method. However, bioleaching of the world’s most abundant copper mineral chalcopyrite suffers from low dissolution rates, often attributed to passivating layers, which need to be overcome to use this technology to its full potential. To prevent these passivating layers from forming, leaching needs to occur at a low oxidation/reduction potential (ORP), but chemical redox control in bioleaching heaps is difficult and costly. As an alternative, selected weak iron-oxidizers could be employed that are incapable of scavenging exceedingly low concentrations of iron and therefore, raise the ORP just above the onset of bioleaching, but not high enough to allow for the occurrence of passivation. In this study, we report that microbial iron oxidation by Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans meets these specifications. Chalcopyrite concentrate bioleaching experiments with S. thermosulfidooxidans as the sole iron oxidizer exhibited significantly lower redox potentials and higher release of copper compared to communities containing the strong iron oxidizer Leptospirillum ferriphilum. Transcriptomic response to single and co-culture of these two iron oxidizers was studied and revealed a greatly decreased number of mRNA transcripts ascribed to iron oxidation in S. thermosulfidooxidans when cultured in the presence of L. ferriphilum. This allowed for the identification of genes potentially responsible for S. thermosulfidooxidans’ weaker iron oxidation to be studied in the future, as well as underlined the need for new mechanisms to control the microbial population in bioleaching heaps. [less ▲]

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See detailColonization and Succession within the Human Gut Microbiome by Archaea, Bacteria, and Microeukaryotes during the First Year of Life
Wampach, Linda UL; Heintz, Anna UL; Hogan, Angela et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2017)

Perturbations to the colonization process of the human gastrointestinal tract have been suggested to result in adverse health effects later in life. Although much research has been performed on bacterial ... [more ▼]

Perturbations to the colonization process of the human gastrointestinal tract have been suggested to result in adverse health effects later in life. Although much research has been performed on bacterial colonization and succession, much less is known about the other two domains of life, archaea, and eukaryotes. Here we describe colonization and succession by bacteria, archaea and microeukaryotes during the first year of life (samples collected around days 1, 3, 5, 28, 150, and 365) within the gastrointestinal tract of infants delivered either vaginally or by cesarean section and using a combination of quantitative real-time PCR as well as 16S and 18S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Sequences from organisms belonging to all three domains of life were detectable in all of the collected meconium samples. The microeukaryotic community composition fluctuated strongly over time and early diversification was delayed in infants receiving formula milk. Cesarean section-delivered (CSD) infants experienced a delay in colonization and succession, which was observed for all three domains of life. Shifts in prokaryotic succession in CSD infants compared to vaginally delivered (VD) infants were apparent as early as days 3 and 5, which were characterized by increased relative abundances of the genera Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, and a decrease in relative abundance for the genera Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides. Generally, a depletion in Bacteroidetes was detected as early as day 5 postpartum in CSD infants, causing a significantly increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio between days 5 and 150 when compared to VD infants. Although the delivery mode appeared to have the strongest influence on differences between the infants, other factors such as a younger gestational age or maternal antibiotics intake likely contributed to the observed patterns as well. Our findings complement previous observations of a delay in colonization and succession of CSD infants, which affects not only bacteria but also archaea and microeukaryotes. This further highlights the need for resolving bacterial, archaeal, and microeukaryotic dynamics in future longitudinal studies of microbial colonization and succession within the neonatal gastrointestinal tract. [less ▲]

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See detailGenomic analysis of the human gut microbiome suggests novel enzymes involved in quinone biosynthesis
Ravcheev, Dmitry UL; Thiele, Ines UL

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2016), 7(128),

Ubiquinone and menaquinone are membrane lipid-soluble carriers of electrons that are essential for cellular respiration. Eukaryotic cells can synthesize ubiquinone but not menaquinone, whereas prokaryotes ... [more ▼]

Ubiquinone and menaquinone are membrane lipid-soluble carriers of electrons that are essential for cellular respiration. Eukaryotic cells can synthesize ubiquinone but not menaquinone, whereas prokaryotes can synthesize both quinones. So far, most of the human gut microbiome (HGM) studies have been based on metagenomic analysis. Here, we applied an analysis of individual HGM genomes to the identification of ubiquinone and menaquinone biosynthetic pathways. In our opinion, the shift from metagenomics to analysis of individual genomes is a pivotal milestone in investigation of bacterial communities, including the HGM. The key results of this study are as follows. (i) The distribution of the canonical pathways in the HGM genomes was consistent with previous reports and with the distribution of the quinone-dependent reductases for electron acceptors. (ii) The comparative genomics analysis identified four alternative forms of the previously known enzymes for quinone biosynthesis. (iii) Genes for the previously unknown part of the futalosine pathway were identified, and the corresponding biochemical reactions were proposed. We discuss the remaining gaps in the menaquinone and ubiquinone pathways in some of the microbes, which indicate the existence of further alternate genes or routes. Together, these findings provide further insight into the biosynthesis of quinones in bacteria and the physiology of the HGM. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification, recovery, and refinement of hitherto undescribed population-level genomes from the human gastrointestinal tract
Laczny, Cedric Christian UL; Muller, Emilie UL; Heintz-Buschart, Anna UL et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2016), 7(884),

Linking taxonomic identity and functional potential at the population-level is important for the study of mixed microbial communities and is greatly facilitated by the availability of microbial reference ... [more ▼]

Linking taxonomic identity and functional potential at the population-level is important for the study of mixed microbial communities and is greatly facilitated by the availability of microbial reference genomes. While the culture-independent recovery of population-level genomes from environmental samples using the binning of metagenomic data has expanded available reference genome catalogs, several microbial lineages remain underrepresented. Here, we present two reference-independent approaches for the identification, recovery, and refinement of hitherto undescribed population-level genomes. The first approach is aimed at genome recovery of varied taxa and involves multi-sample automated binning using CANOPY CLUSTERING complemented by visualization and human-augmented binning using VIZBINpost hoc. The second approach is particularly well-suited for the study of specific taxa and employs VIZBINde novo. Using these approaches, we reconstructed a total of six population-level genomes of distinct and divergent representatives of the Alphaproteobacteria class, the Mollicutes class, the Clostridiales order, and the Melainabacteria class from human gastrointestinal tract-derived metagenomic data. Our results demonstrate that, while automated binning approaches provide great potential for large-scale studies of mixed microbial communities, these approaches should be complemented with informative visualizations because expert-driven inspection and refinements are critical for the recovery of high-quality population-level genomes. [less ▲]

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See detailSystematic genomic analysis reveals the complementary aerobic and anaerobic respiration capacities of the human gut microbiota
Ravcheev, Dmitry UL; Thiele, Ines UL

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2014)

Because of the specific anatomical and physiological properties of the human intestine, a specific oxygen gradient builds up within this organ that influences the intestinal microbiota. The intestinal ... [more ▼]

Because of the specific anatomical and physiological properties of the human intestine, a specific oxygen gradient builds up within this organ that influences the intestinal microbiota. The intestinal microbiome has been intensively studied in recent years, and certain respiratory substrates used by gut inhabiting microbes have been shown to play a crucial role in human health. Unfortunately, a systematic analysis has not been previously performed to determine the respiratory capabilities of human gut microbes (HGM). Here, we analyzed the distribution of aerobic and anaerobic respiratory reductases in 254 HGM genomes. In addition to the annotation of known enzymes, we also predicted a novel microaerobic reductase and novel thiosulfate reductase. Based on this comprehensive assessment of respiratory reductases in the HGM, we proposed a number of exchange pathways among different bacteria involved in the reduction of various nitrogen oxides. The results significantly expanded our knowledge of HGM metabolism and interactions in bacterial communities. [less ▲]

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See detailMacromolecular networks and intelligence in microorganisms
Westerhoff, Hans V.; Brooks, Aaron; Simeonidis, Vangelis UL et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2014)

Living organisms persist by virtue of complex interactions among many components organized into dynamic, environment-responsive networks that span multiple scales and dimensions. Biological networks ... [more ▼]

Living organisms persist by virtue of complex interactions among many components organized into dynamic, environment-responsive networks that span multiple scales and dimensions. Biological networks constitute a type of Information and Communication Technology (ICT): they receive information from the outside and inside of cells, integrate and interpret this information, and then activate a response. Biological networks enable molecules within cells, and even cells themselves, to communicate with each other and their environment. We have become accustomed to associating brain activity – particularly activity of the human brain – with a phenomenon we call “intelligence”. Yet, four billion years of evolution could have selected networks with topologies and dynamics that confer traits analogous to this intelligence, even though they were outside the intercellular networks of the brain. Here, we explore how macromolecular networks in microbes confer intelligent characteristics, such as memory, anticipation, adaptation and reflection and we review current understanding of how network organization reflects the type of intelligence required for the environments in which they were selected. We propose that, if we were to leave terms such as “human” and “brain” out of the defining features of “intelligence”, all forms of life – from microbes to humans – exhibit some or all characteristics consistent with “intelligence”. We then review advances in genome-wide data production and analysis, especially in microbes, that provide a lens into microbial intelligence and propose how the insights derived from quantitatively characterizing biomolecular networks may enable synthetic biologists to create intelligent molecular networks for biotechnology, possibly generating new forms of intelligence, first in silico and then in vivo. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative genomics and evolution of regulons of the LacI-family transcription factors
Ravcheev, Dmitry UL; Khoroshkin, Matvei S.; Laikova, Olga N. et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2014), 5

DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) are essential components of transcriptional regulatory networks in bacteria. LacI-family TFs (LacI-TFs) are broadly distributed among certain lineages of bacteria ... [more ▼]

DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) are essential components of transcriptional regulatory networks in bacteria. LacI-family TFs (LacI-TFs) are broadly distributed among certain lineages of bacteria. The majority of characterized LacI-TFs sense sugar effectors and regulate carbohydrate utilization genes. The comparative genomics approaches enable in silico identification of TF-binding sites and regulon reconstruction. To study the function and evolution of LacI-TFs, we performed genomics-based reconstruction and comparative analysis of their regulons. For over 1300 LacI-TFs from over 270 bacterial genomes, we predicted their cognate DNA-binding motifs and identified target genes. Using the genome context and metabolic subsystem analyses of reconstructed regulons, we tentatively assigned functional roles and predicted candidate effectors for 78 and 67% of the analyzed LacI-TFs, respectively. Nearly 90% of the studied LacI-TFs are local regulators of sugar utilization pathways, whereas the remaining 125 global regulators control large and diverse sets of metabolic genes. The global LacI-TFs include the previously known regulators CcpA in Firmicutes, FruR in Enterobacteria, and PurR in Gammaproteobacteria, as well as the three novel regulators—GluR, GapR, and PckR—that are predicted to control the central carbohydrate metabolism in three lineages of Alphaproteobacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of regulators combined with the reconstructed regulons provides a model of evolutionary diversification of the LacI protein family. The obtained genomic collection of in silico reconstructed LacI-TF regulons in bacteria is available in the RegPrecise database (http://regprecise.lbl.gov). It provides a framework for future structural and functional classification of the LacI protein family and identification of molecular determinants of the DNA and ligand specificity. The inferred regulons can be also used for functional gene annotation and reconstruction of sugar catabolic networks in diverse bacterial lineages. [less ▲]

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See detailA hundred years of activated sludge: time for a rethink
Sheik, Abdul UL; Muller, Emilie UL; Wilmes, Paul UL

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2014), 5(47), 1-7

Biological wastewater treatment plants (BWWTPs) based on the activated sludge (AS) pro- cess have dramatically improved worldwide water sanitation despite increased urbanization and industrialization ... [more ▼]

Biological wastewater treatment plants (BWWTPs) based on the activated sludge (AS) pro- cess have dramatically improved worldwide water sanitation despite increased urbanization and industrialization. However, current AS-based operations are considered economically and environmentally unsustainable. In this Perspective, we discuss our current understanding of microbial populations and their metabolic transformations in AS-based BWWTPs in view of developing more sustainable processes in the future. In particular, much has been learned over the course of the past 25 years about specialized microorganisms, which could be more comprehensively leveraged to recover energy and/or nutrients from wastewater streams. To achieve this, we propose a bottom-up design approach, focused around the concept of a “wastewater biorefinery column”, which would rely on the engineering of distinct ecological niches into a BWWTP in order to guarantee the targeted enrichment of specific organismal groups which in turn will allow the harvest of high-value resources from wastewater. This concept could be seen as a possible grand challenge to microbial ecologists and engineers alike at the centenary of the discovery of the AS process. [less ▲]

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See detailA mathematical model of metabolism and regulation provides a systems-level view of how Escherichia coli responds to oxygen
Ederer, M; Steinsiek, S; Stagge, S et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2014), 5(124),

The efficient redesign of bacteria for biotechnological purposes, such as biofuel production, waste disposal or specific biocatalytic functions, requires a quantitative systems-level understanding of ... [more ▼]

The efficient redesign of bacteria for biotechnological purposes, such as biofuel production, waste disposal or specific biocatalytic functions, requires a quantitative systems-level understanding of energy supply, carbon, and redox metabolism. The measurement of transcript levels, metabolite concentrations and metabolic fluxes per se gives an incomplete picture. An appreciation of the interdependencies between the different measurement values is essential for systems-level understanding. Mathematical modeling has the potential to provide a coherent and quantitative description of the interplay between gene expression, metabolite concentrations, and metabolic fluxes. Escherichia coli undergoes major adaptations in central metabolism when the availability of oxygen changes. Thus, an integrated description of the oxygen response provides a benchmark of our understanding of carbon, energy, and redox metabolism. We present the first comprehensive model of the central metabolism of E. coli that describes steady-state metabolism at different levels of oxygen availability. Variables of the model are metabolite concentrations, gene expression levels, transcription factor activities, metabolic fluxes, and biomass concentration. We analyze the model with respect to the production capabilities of central metabolism of E. coli. In particular, we predict how precursor and biomass concentration are affected by product formation. - See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fmicb.2014.00124/abstract#sthash.Ocu5zSDe.dpuf [less ▲]

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See detailTranscriptional regulation of the carbohydrate utilization network in Thermotoga maritima
Rodionov, Dmitry A.; Rodionova, Irina A.; Li et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2013), 4(244), 1-14

Hyperthermophilic bacteria from the Thermotogales lineage can produce hydrogen by fermenting a wide range of carbohydrates. Previous experimental studies identified a large fraction of genes committed to ... [more ▼]

Hyperthermophilic bacteria from the Thermotogales lineage can produce hydrogen by fermenting a wide range of carbohydrates. Previous experimental studies identified a large fraction of genes committed to carbohydrate degradation and utilization in the model bacterium Thermotoga maritima. Knowledge of these genes enabled comprehensive reconstruction of biochemical pathways comprising the carbohydrate utilization network. However, transcriptional factors (TFs) and regulatory mechanisms driving this network remained largely unknown. Here, we used an integrated approach based on comparative analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data for the reconstruction of the carbohydrate utilization regulatory networks in 11 Thermotogales genomes. We identified DNA-binding motifs and regulons for 19 orthologous TFs in the Thermotogales. The inferred regulatory network in T. maritima contains 181 genes encoding TFs, sugar catabolic enzymes and ABC-family transporters. In contrast to many previously described bacteria, a transcriptional regulation strategy of Thermotoga does not employ global regulatory factors. The reconstructed regulatory network in T. maritima was validated by gene expression profiling on a panel of mono- and disaccharides and by in vitro DNA-binding assays. The observed upregulation of genes involved in catabolism of pectin, trehalose, cellobiose, arabinose, rhamnose, xylose, glucose, galactose, and ribose showed a strong correlation with the UxaR, TreR, BglR, CelR, AraR, RhaR, XylR, GluR, GalR, and RbsR regulons. Ultimately, this study elucidated the transcriptional regulatory network and mechanisms controlling expression of carbohydrate utilization genes in T. maritima. In addition to improving the functional annotations of associated transporters and catabolic enzymes, this research provides novel insights into the evolution of regulatory networks in Thermotogales. [less ▲]

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