Olive Mill Waste Enhances α-Glucan Content in the Edible Mushroom Pleurotus eryngii
. Int J Mol Sci 2017
Mushroom polysaccharides are edible polymers that have numerous reported biological functions; the most common effects are attributed to β-glucans. In recent years, it became apparent that the less abundant α-glucans also possess potent effects in various health conditions. Here we explore several species for their total, β and α-glucan content. was found to have the highest total glucan concentrations and the highest α-glucans proportion. We also found that the stalks (stipe) of the fruit body contained higher glucan content then the caps (pileus). Since mushrooms respond markedly to changes in environmental and growth conditions, we developed cultivation methods aiming to increase the levels of α and β-glucans. Using olive mill solid waste (OMSW) from three-phase olive mills in the cultivation substrate. We were able to enrich the levels mainly of α-glucans. Maximal total glucan concentrations were enhanced up to twice when the growth substrate contained 80% of OMSW compared to no OMSW. Taking together this study demonstrate that can serve as a potential rich source of glucans for nutritional and medicinal applications and that glucan content in mushroom fruiting bodies can be further enriched by applying OMSW into the cultivation substrate.
Recombinant ostreolysin induces brown fat-like phenotype in HIB-1B cells
. Mol Nutr Food Res 2017
SCOPE: Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is the main regulator of thermogenesis by increasing energy expenditure through the uncoupling of oxidative metabolism from ATP synthesis. There is a growing body of evidence for BAT being the key responsible organ in combating obesity and its related disorders. Herein we propose the fungal protein ostreolysin (Oly), which has been previously shown to bind to cholesterol-enriched raft-like membrane domains (lipid rafts) of mammalian cells, as a suitable candidate for interaction with brown preadipocytes. The aim of the present study was therefore to characterize the mechanism by which a recombinant version of ostreolysin (rOly) induces brown adipocyte differentiation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Primary isolated brown preadipocytes or HIB-1B brown preadipocyte cells were treated with rOly and the effects on morphology, lipid accumulation, respiration rate, and associated gene and protein expression were measured. rOly upregulated mRNA and protein levels of factors related to brown adipocyte differentiation, induced lipid droplet formation, and increased cellular respiration rate due to expression of uncoupling protein 1. rOly also upregulated β-tubulin expression, and therefore microtubules might be involved in its mechanism of action.
CONCLUSION: rOly promotes brown adipocyte differentiation, suggesting a new mechanism for rOly's contribution to the battle against obesity.
How does cellulosome composition influence deconstruction of lignocellulosic substrates in Clostridium (Ruminiclostridium) thermocellum DSM 1313?
. Biotechnology for biofuels 2017
, 222 - 222. Publisher's VersionAbstract
BACKGROUND: Bioethanol production processes involve enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. Due to the relatively high cost of enzyme production, the development of potent and cost-effective cellulolytic cocktails is critical for increasing the cost-effectiveness of bioethanol production. In this context, the multi-protein cellulolytic complex of Clostridium (Ruminiclostridium) thermocellum, the cellulosome, was studied here. C. thermocellum is known to assemble cellulosomes of various subunit (enzyme) compositions, in response to the available carbon source. In the current study, different carbon sources were used, and their influence on both cellulosomal composition and the resultant activity was investigated. RESULTS: Glucose, cellobiose, microcrystalline cellulose, alkaline-pretreated switchgrass, alkaline-pretreated corn stover, and dilute acid-pretreated corn stover were used as sole carbon sources in the growth media of C. thermocellum strain DSM 1313. The purified cellulosomes were compared for their activity on selected cellulosic substrates. Interestingly, cellulosomes derived from cells grown on lignocellulosic biomass showed no advantage in hydrolyzing the original carbon source used for their production. Instead, microcrystalline cellulose- and glucose-derived cellulosomes were equal or superior in their capacity to deconstruct lignocellulosic biomass. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed differential composition of catalytic and structural subunits (scaffoldins) in the different cellulosome samples. The most abundant catalytic subunits in all cellulosome types include Cel48S, Cel9K, Cel9Q, Cel9R, and Cel5G. Microcrystalline cellulose- and glucose-derived cellulosome samples showed higher endoglucanase-to-exoglucanase ratios and higher catalytic subunit-per-scaffoldin ratios compared to lignocellulose-derived cellulosome types. CONCLUSION: The results reported here highlight the finding that cellulosomes derived from cells grown on glucose and microcrystalline cellulose are more efficient in their action on cellulosic substrates than other cellulosome preparations. These results should be considered in the future development of C. thermocellum-based cellulolytic cocktails, designer cellulosomes, or engineering of improved strains for deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass.
Ecological systems biology: The dynamics of interacting populations
. Current Opinion in Systems Biology 2017
114 - 121. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Ecological systems biology integrates theory and experiments in simple laboratory systems to study how interactions between individuals determine the emergent properties of complex biological communities. This approach reveals parallels between ecological dynamics that result from interactions between populations, and evolutionary dynamics which result from analogous interactions within a population. Tractable microbial systems enable systematic testing of theoretical predications, and identification of novel principles. Notable examples include using a cooperatively growing yeast population to detect theoretically predicted early-warning indicators preceding sudden population collapse, validating predicted spatial expansion patterns using two yeast strains which exchange essential metabolites, and the recent realization that coevolution of predators and prey qualitatively alters the oscillations that are observed in a rotifer-algae system.
Community structure follows simple assembly rules in microbial microcosms
0109. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Microorganisms typically form diverse communities of interacting species, whose activities have tremendous impact on the plants, animals and humans they associate with. The ability to predict the structure of these complex communities is crucial to understanding and managing them. Here, we propose a simple, qualitative assembly rule that predicts community structure from the outcomes of competitions between small sets of species, and experimentally assess its predictive power using synthetic microbial communities composed of up to eight soil bacterial species. Nearly all competitions resulted in a unique, stable community, whose composition was independent of the initial species fractions. Survival in three-species competitions was predicted by the pairwise outcomes with an accuracy of ~90%. Obtaining a similar level of accuracy in competitions between sets of seven or all eight species required incorporating additional information regarding the outcomes of the three-species competitions. Our results demonstrate experimentally the ability of a simple bottom-up approach to predict community structure. Such an approach is key for anticipating the response of communities to changing environments, designing interventions to steer existing communities to more desirable states and, ultimately, rationally designing communities de novo.
Mapping the ecological networks of microbial communities
2042. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Mapping the ecological networks of microbial communities is a necessary step toward understanding their assembly rules and predicting their temporal behavior. However, existing methods require assuming a particular population dynamics model, which is not known a priori. Moreover, those methods require fitting longitudinal abundance data, which are often not informative enough for reliable inference. To overcome these limitations, here we develop a new method based on steady-state abundance data. Our method can infer the network topology and inter-taxa interaction types without assuming any particular population dynamics model. Additionally, when the population dynamics is assumed to follow the classic Generalized Lotka–Volterra model, our method can infer the inter-taxa interaction strengths and intrinsic growth rates. We systematically validate our method using simulated data, and then apply it to four experimental data sets. Our method represents a key step towards reliable modeling of complex, real-world microbial communities, such as the human gut microbiota.
Increased LOH due to Defective Sister Chromatid Cohesion Is due Primarily to Chromosomal Aneuploidy and not Recombination
. G3 (Bethesda, Md.) 2017
3305 - 3315. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) is an important factor in cancer, pathogenic fungi, and adaptation to changing environments. The sister chromatid cohesion process (SCC) suppresses aneuploidy and therefore whole chromosome LOH. SCC is also important to channel recombinational repair to sister chromatids, thereby preventing LOH mediated by allelic recombination. There is, however, insufficient information about the relative roles that the SCC pathway plays in the different modes of LOH. Here, we found that the cohesin mutation mcd1-1, and other mutations in SCC, differentially affect the various types of LOH. The greatest effect, by three orders of magnitude, was on whole chromosome loss (CL). In contrast, there was little increase in recombination-mediated LOH, even for telomeric markers. Some of the LOH events that were increased by SCC mutations were complex, i.e., they were the result of several chromosome transactions. Although these events were independent of POL32, the most parsimonious way to explain the formation of at least some of them was break-induced replication through the centromere. Interestingly, the mcd1-1 pol32Δ double mutant showed a significant reduction in the rate of CL in comparison with the mcd1-1 single mutant. Our results show that defects in SCC allow the formation of complex LOH events that, in turn, can promote drug or pesticide resistance in diploid microbes that are pathogenic to humans or plants.
Carotenoid production and phenotypic variation in Azospirillum brasilense
. Research in Microbiology 2017
, 493 - 501. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We assessed the occurrence of phenotypic variation in Azospirillum brasilense strains Sp7, Cd, Sp245, Az39 and phv2 during growth in rich media, screening for variants altered in colony pigmentation or extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) production. Previous studies showed that EPS-overproducing variants of Sp7 appear frequently following starvation or growth in minimal medium. In contrast, no such variants were detected during growth in rich media in the tested strains except for few variants of phv2. Regarding alteration in colony pigmentation (from pink to white in strain Cd and from white to pink in the others), strain Sp7 showed a relatively high frequency of variation (0.009–0.026%). Strain Cd showed a lower frequency of alteration in pigmentation (0–0.008%), and this type of variation was not detected in the other strains. In A. brasilense, carotenoid synthesis is controlled by two RpoE sigma factors and their cognate ChrR anti-sigma factors, the latter acting as negative regulators of carotenoid synthesis. Here, all tested (n = 28) pink variants of Sp7 carried mutations in one of the anti-sigma factor genes, chrR1. Our findings indicate that, in A. brasilense, phenotypic variation is strain- and environment-dependent and support the central role of ChrR1 in regulation of carotenoid production.
A role for small secreted proteins (SSPs) in a saprophytic fungal lifestyle: Ligninolytic enzyme regulation in Pleurotus ostreatus
. Scientific Reports 2017
14553. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Small secreted proteins (SSPs), along with lignocellulose degrading enzymes, are integral components of the secretome of Pleurotus ostreatus, a white rot fungus. In this study, we identified 3 genes (ssp1, 2 and 3) encoding proteins that are annotated as SSPs and that exhibited of ~4,500- fold expression, 24 hr following exposure to the toxic compound 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Homologues to genes encoding these SSPs are present in the genomes of other basidiomycete fungi, however the role of SSPs is not yet understood. SSPs, aryl-alcohol oxidases (AAO) and the intracellular aryl-alcohol dehydrogenases (AAD) were also produced after exposure to other aryl-alcohols, known substrates and inducers of AAOs, and during idiophase (after the onset of secondary metabolism). A knockdown strain of ssp1 exhibited reduced production of AAO-and AAD-encoding genes after HMF exposure. Conversely, a strain overexpressing ssp1 exhibited elevated expression of genes encoding AAOs and ADD, resulting in a 3-fold increase in enzymatic activity of AAOs, as well as increased expression and protein abundance of versatile peroxidase 1, which directly degrades lignin. We propose that in addition to symbionts and pathogens, SSPs also have roles in saprophytes and function in P. ostreatus as components of the ligninolytic system.
Impact of urban air pollution on the allergenicity of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia: Outdoor exposure study supported by laboratory experiments
, 365 - 371. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ABSTRACTUnderstanding the chemical interactions of common allergens in urban environments may help to decipher the general increase in susceptibility to allergies observed in recent decades. In this study, asexual conidia of the allergenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus were exposed to air pollution under natural (ambient) and controlled (laboratory) conditions. The allergenic activity was measured using two immunoassays and supported by a protein mass spectrometry analysis. The allergenicity of the conidia was found to increase by 2–5 fold compared to the control for short exposure times of up to 12h (accumulated exposure of about 50ppb NO2 and 750ppb O3), possibly due to nitration. At higher exposure times, the allergenicity increase lessened due to protein deamidation. These results indicate that during the first 12h of exposure, the allergenic potency of the fungal allergen A. fumigatus in polluted urban environments is expected to increase. Additional work is needed in order to determine if this behavior occurs for other allergens.
Model fungi: Engines of scientific insight
, 33 - 35. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Fungal models have been used, for nearly a century, to answer fundamental questions relevant to the fungal kingdom and beyond and have also provided major contributions for the success of the general fungal research community. Cadres of scientists that study a model organism develop a strong ethos of sharing, derived from communal efforts which, in turn, also contribute to the education of future researchers. There is an increasing trend in preferred funding of research which is problem-driven in contrast to that which is just curiosity-driven. Securing resources for research that does not require practical deliverables is one way of circumventing the slow, unplanned, erosion of support for curiosity-driven fungal research. The role of model fungi as proven, long-term, powerful, engines of scientific insights should not be neglected or abandoned. Rather, they should be continuously celebrated.
Intraspecific variation in defense against a generalist lepidopteran herbivore in populations of Eruca sativa (Mill.)
. Ecology and EvolutionEcology and EvolutionEcol Evol 2016
363 - 374. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Abstract Populations of Eruca sativa (Brassicaceae) from desert and Mediterranean (Med) habitats in Israel differ in their defense against larvae of the generalist Spodoptera littoralis but not the specialist Pieris brassicae. Larvae of the generalist insect feeding on plants of the Med population gained significantly less weight than those feeding on the desert plants, and exogenous application of methyl jasmonate (MJ) on leaves of the Med plants significantly reduced the level of damage created by the generalist larvae. However, MJ treatment significantly induced resistance in plants of the desert population, whereas the generalist larvae caused similar damage to MJ-induced and noninduced plants. Analyses of glucosinolates and expression of genes in their synthesis pathway indicated that defense in plants of the Med population against the generalist insect is governed by the accumulation of glucosinolates. In plants of the desert population, trypsin proteinase inhibitor activity was highly induced in response to herbivory by S. littoralis. Analysis of genes in the defense-regulating signaling pathways suggested that in response to herbivory, differences between populations in the induced levels of jasmonic acid, ethylene, and salicylic acid mediate the differential defenses against the insect. In addition, expression analysis of myrosinase-associated protein NSP2 suggested that in plants of the desert population, glucosinolates breakdown products were primarily directed to nitrile production. We suggest that proteinase inhibitors provide an effective defense in the desert plants, in which glucosinolate production is directed to the less toxic nitriles. The ecological role of nitrile production in preventing infestation by specialists is discussed.
Natural selection underlies apparent stress-induced mutagenesis in a bacteriophage infection model
16047. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The emergence of mutations following growth-limiting conditions underlies bacterial drug resistance, viral escape from the immune system and fundamental evolution-driven events. Intriguingly, whether mutations are induced by growth limitation conditions or are randomly generated during growth and then selected by growth limitation conditions remains an open question1. Here, we show that bacteriophage T7 undergoes apparent stress-induced mutagenesis when selected for improved recognition of its host's receptor. In our unique experimental set-up, the growth limitation condition is physically and temporally separated from mutagenesis: growth limitation occurs while phage DNA is outside the host, and spontaneous mutations occur during phage DNA replication inside the host. We show that the selected beneficial mutations are not pre-existing and that the initial slow phage growth is enabled by the phage particle's low-efficiency DNA injection into the host. Thus, the phage particle allows phage populations to initially extend their host range without mutagenesis by virtue of residual recognition of the host receptor. Mutations appear during non-selective intracellular replication, and the frequency of mutant phages increases by natural selection acting on free phages, which are not capable of mutagenesis.
High-resolution phylogenetic microbial community profiling
, 2020 - 2032. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Over the past decade, high-throughput short-read 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing has eclipsed clone-dependent long-read Sanger sequencing for microbial community profiling. The transition to new technologies has provided more quantitative information at the expense of taxonomic resolution with implications for inferring metabolic traits in various ecosystems. We applied single-molecule real-time sequencing for microbial community profiling, generating full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences at high throughput, which we propose to name PhyloTags. We benchmarked and validated this approach using a defined microbial community. When further applied to samples from the water column of meromictic Sakinaw Lake, we show that while community structures at the phylum level are comparable between PhyloTags and Illumina V4 16S rRNA gene sequences (iTags), variance increases with community complexity at greater water depths. PhyloTags moreover allowed less ambiguous classification. Last, a platform-independent comparison of PhyloTags and in silico generated partial 16S rRNA gene sequences demonstrated significant differences in community structure and phylogenetic resolution across multiple taxonomic levels, including a severe underestimation in the abundance of specific microbial genera involved in nitrogen and methane cycling across the Lake’s water column. Thus, PhyloTags provide a reliable adjunct or alternative to cost-effective iTags, enabling more accurate phylogenetic resolution of microbial communities and predictions on their metabolic potential.
Toxin-Antitoxin systems eliminate defective cells and preserve symmetry in Bacillus subtilis biofilms
. Environmental MicrobiologyEnvironmental MicrobiologyEnviron Microbiol 2016
, 5032 - 5047. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary Toxin-antitoxin modules are gene pairs encoding a toxin and its antitoxin, and are found on the chromosomes of many bacteria, including pathogens. Here, we characterize the specific contribution of the TxpA and YqcG toxins in elimination of defective cells from developing Bacillus subtilis biofilms. On nutrient limitation, defective cells accumulated in the biofilm breaking its symmetry. Deletion of the toxins resulted in accumulation of morphologically abnormal cells, and interfered with the proper development of the multicellular community. Dual physiological responses are of significance for TxpA and YqcG activation: nitrogen deprivation enhances the transcription of both TxpA and YqcG toxins, and simultaneously sensitizes the biofilm cells to their activity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that while both toxins when overexpressed affect the morphology of the developing biofilm, the toxin TxpA can act to lyse and dissolve pre-established B. subtilis biofilms.
An Extended Cyclic Di-GMP Network in the Predatory Bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus
. Journal of Bacteriology 2016
, 127. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Over the course of the last 3 decades the role of the second messenger cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) as a master regulator of bacterial physiology was determined. Although the control over c-di-GMP levels via synthesis and breakdown and the allosteric regulation of c-di-GMP over receptor proteins (effectors) and riboswitches have been extensively studied, relatively few effectors have been identified and most are of unknown functions. The obligate predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has a peculiar dimorphic life cycle, in which a phenotypic transition from a free-living attack phase (AP) to a sessile, intracellular predatory growth phase (GP) is tightly regulated by specific c-di-GMP diguanylate cyclases. B. bacteriovorus also bears one of the largest complement of defined effectors, almost none of known functions, suggesting that additional proteins may be involved in c-di-GMP signaling. In order to uncover novel c-di-GMP effectors, a c-di-GMP capture-compound mass-spectroscopy experiment was performed on wild-type AP and host-independent (HI) mutant cultures, the latter serving as a proxy for wild-type GP cells. Eighty-four proteins were identified as candidate c-di-GMP binders. Of these proteins, 65 did not include any recognized c-di-GMP binding site, and 3 carried known unorthodox binding sites. Putative functions could be assigned to 59 proteins. These proteins are included in metabolic pathways, regulatory circuits, cell transport, and motility, thereby creating a potentially large c-di-GMP network. False candidate effectors may include members of protein complexes, as well as proteins binding nucleotides or other cofactors that were, respectively, carried over or unspecifically interacted with the capture compound during the pulldown. Of the 84 candidates, 62 were found to specifically bind the c-di-GMP capture compound in AP or in HI cultures, suggesting c-di-GMP control over the whole-cell cycle of the bacterium. High affinity and specificity to c-di-GMP binding were confirmed using microscale thermophoresis with a hypothetical protein bearing a PilZ domain, an acyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase, and a two-component system response regulator, indicating that additional c-di-GMP binding candidates may be bona fide novel effectors.IMPORTANCE In this study, 84 putative c-di-GMP binding proteins were identified in B. bacteriovorus, an obligate predatory bacterium whose lifestyle and reproduction are dependent on c-di-GMP signaling, using a c-di-GMP capture compound precipitation approach. This predicted complement covers metabolic, energy, transport, motility and regulatory pathways, and most of it is phase specific, i.e., 62 candidates bind the capture compound at defined modes of B. bacteriovorus lifestyle. Three of the putative binders further demonstrated specificity and high affinity to c-di-GMP via microscale thermophoresis, lending support for the presence of additional bona fide c-di-GMP effectors among the pulled-down protein repertoire.This article is dedicated to Felix Frolow.
Draft Genome Sequence of the Bactrocera oleae Symbiont “Candidatus Erwinia dacicola”
. Genome Announcements 2016
e00896-16. Publisher's VersionAbstract
“Candidatus Erwinia dacicola” is a Gammaproteobacterium that forms a symbiotic association with the agricultural pest Bactrocera oleae. Here, we present a 2.1-Mb draft hybrid genome assembly for “Ca. Erwinia dacicola” generated from single-cell and metagenomic data.
Bacterial predator–prey dynamics in microscale patchy landscapes
. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological SciencesProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2016
, 20152154. Publisher's Version
Engineering a predatory bacterium as a proficient killer agent for intracellular bio-products recovery: The case of the polyhydroxyalkanoates
24381. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This work examines the potential of the predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus HD100, an obligate predator of other Gram-negative bacteria, as an external cell-lytic agent for recovering valuable intracellular bio-products produced by prey cultures. The bio-product targets to be recovered were polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) produced naturally by Pseudomonas putida and Cupriavidus necator, or by recombinant Escherichia coli strains. B. bacteriovorus with a mutated PHA depolymerase gene to prevent the unwanted breakdown of the bio-product allowed the recovery of up to 80% of that accumulated by the prey bacteria, even at high biomass concentrations. This innovative downstream process highlights how B. bacteriovorus can be used as a novel, biological lytic agent for the inexpensive, industrial scale recovery of intracellular products from different Gram-negative prey cultures.