Abstract (Expand)

Nitrogen heterocycles are structural motifs found in many bioactive natural products and of utmost importance in pharmaceutical drug development. In this work, a stereoselective synthesis of functionalized N‐heterocycles was accomplished in two steps, comprising the biocatalytic aldol addition of ethanal and simple aliphatic ketones such as propanone, butanone, 3‐pentanone, cyclobutanone, and cyclopentanone to N‐Cbz‐protected aminoaldehydes using engineered variants of d‐fructose‐6‐phosphate aldolase from Escherichia coli (FSA) or 2‐deoxy‐d‐ribose‐5‐phosphate aldolase from Thermotoga maritima (DERATma) as catalysts. FSA catalyzed most of the additions of ketones while DERATma was restricted to ethanal and propanone. Subsequent treatment with hydrogen in the presence of palladium over charcoal, yielded low‐level oxygenated N‐heterocyclic derivatives of piperidine, pyrrolidine and N‐bicyclic structures bearing fused cyclobutane and cyclopentane rings, with stereoselectivities of 96–98 ee and 97:3 dr in isolated yields ranging from 35 to 79%.

Authors: Raquel Roldán, Karel Hernández, Jesús Joglar, Jordi Bujons, Teodor Parella, Wolf Dieter Fessner, Pere Clapés

Date Published: 6th Jun 2019

Journal: Adv. Synth. Catal.

Abstract (Expand)

Factors affecting the establishment of the gut microbiota in animals living in marine environments remain largely unknown. In terrestrial animals, however, it is well established that the juvenile environment has a major impact on the gut microbiota later in life. Atlantic salmon Salmo salar is an anadromous fish important in aquaculture with a juvenile freshwater stage and an adult seawater stage. For wild salmon, there are major dietary changes with respect to availability of long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids (LC-n-3 PUFA) with lower abundance in freshwater systems. The aim of our work was therefore to determine the effect of a juvenile freshwater diet with high LC-n-3 PUFA, as compared to a diet low in LC-n-3 PUFA (designed to increase the endogenous LC-n-3 PUFA production), on the transition to a seawater gut microbiota for Atlantic salmon. We found a juvenile freshwater microbiota high in Firmicutes for fish raised with low LC-n-3 PUFA, while the microbiota for fish given high LC-n-3 PUFA feed was high in Proteobacteria. One hundred days after transfer to a common sea cage, fish that were given low LC-n-3 PUFA diets in freshwater showed significantly higher (p = 0.02, Kruskal-Wallis) Mycoplasma content (90 ± 7%; mean ± SD) compared to fish raised on a high LC-n-3 PUFA diet in freshwater (25 ± 31% Mycoplasma). Shotgun metagenome sequencing from fish raised with a low LC-n-3 PUFA diet identified a salmon-associated Mycoplasma in sea, being distinct from currently known Mycoplasma. The genome sequence information indicated a mutualistic lifestyle of this bacterium. Mycoplasma has also previously been identified as dominant (>70%) in sea-living adult Atlantic salmon. Taken together, our results suggest that the juvenile freshwater diet influences the establishment of the gut microbiota in marine Atlantic salmon.

Authors: Yang Jin, Inga Leena Angell, Sandve Simen, Lars Snipen, Y Olsen, Knut Rudi

Date Published: 24th Jan 2019

Journal: Aquacult. Environ. Interact.

Abstract (Expand)

Archaea are characterised by a complex metabolism with many unique enzymes that differ from their bacterial and eukaryotic counterparts. The thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is known for its metabolic versatility and is able to utilize a great variety of different carbon sources. However, the underlying degradation pathways and their regulation are often unknown. In this work, we analyse growth on different carbon sources using an integrated systems biology approach. The comparison of growth on L-fucose and D-glucose allows first insights into the genome-wide changes in response to the two carbon sources and revealed a new pathway for L-fucose degradation in S. solfataricus. During growth on L-fucose we observed major changes in the central carbon metabolic network, as well as an increased activity of the glyoxylate bypass and the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle. Within the newly discovered pathway for L-fucose degradation the following key reactions were identified: (i) L-fucose oxidation to L-fuconate via a dehydrogenase, (ii) dehydration to 2-keto-3-deoxy-L-fuconate via dehydratase, (iii) 2-keto-3-deoxy-L-fuconate cleavage to pyruvate and L-lactaldehyde via aldolase and (iv) L-lactaldehyde conversion to L-lactate via aldehyde dehydrogenase. This pathway as well as L-fucose transport shows interesting overlaps to the D-arabinose pathway, representing another example for pathway promiscuity in Sulfolobus species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Authors: Jacqueline Wolf, Helge Stark, K. Fafenrot, Andreas Albersmeier, Trong Khoa Pham, K. B. Muller, B. Meyer, L. Hoffmann, L. Shen, Stefan Albaum, Theresa Kouril, K. Schmidt-Hohagen, M. Neumann-Schaal, C. Brasen, J. Kalinowski, Phil Wright, Sonja-Verena Albers, Dietmar Schomburg, Bettina Siebers

Date Published: 10th Sep 2016

Journal: Mol Microbiol


Not specified

Authors: Anna-Karin Gustavsson, Dawie Van Niekerk, Caroline B. Adiels, Bob Kooi, Mattias Goksör, Jacky Snoep

Date Published: 1st Jun 2014

Journal: FEBS J

Abstract (Expand)

In the presence of oxygen (O2) the model bacterium Escherichia coli is able to conserve energy by aerobic respiration. Two major terminal oxidases are involved in this process - Cyo has a relatively low affinity for O2 but is able to pump protons and hence is energetically efficient; Cyd has a high affinity for O2 but does not pump protons. When E. coli encounters environments with different O2 availabilities, the expression of the genes encoding the alternative terminal oxidases, the cydAB and cyoABCDE operons, are regulated by two O2-responsive transcription factors, ArcA (an indirect O2 sensor) and FNR (a direct O2 sensor). It has been suggested that O2-consumption by the terminal oxidases located at the cytoplasmic membrane significantly affects the activities of ArcA and FNR in the bacterial nucleoid. In this study, an agent-based modeling approach has been taken to spatially simulate the uptake and consumption of O2 by E. coli and the consequent modulation of ArcA and FNR activities based on experimental data obtained from highly controlled chemostat cultures. The molecules of O2, transcription factors and terminal oxidases are treated as individual agents and their behaviors and interactions are imitated in a simulated 3-D E. coli cell. The model implies that there are two barriers that dampen the response of FNR to O2, i.e. consumption of O2 at the membrane by the terminal oxidases and reaction of O2 with cytoplasmic FNR. Analysis of FNR variants suggested that the monomer-dimer transition is the key step in FNR-mediated repression of gene expression.

Authors: Hao Bai, Matthew Rolfe, Wenjing Jia, S. Coakley, Robert Poole, Jeff Green, Michael Holcombe

Date Published: 24th Apr 2014

Journal: PLoS Comput Biol

Abstract (Expand)

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.

Authors: None

Date Published: 27th Mar 2014

Journal: Front Microbiol

Abstract (Expand)

The respiratory chain of E. coli is branched to allow the cells' flexibility to deal with changing environmental conditions. It consists of the NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductases NADH dehydrogenase I and II, as well as of three terminal oxidases. They differ with respect to energetic efficiency (proton translocation) and their affinity to the different quinone/quinol species and oxygen. In order to analyze the advantages of the branched electron transport chain over a linear one and to assess how usage of the different terminal oxidases determines growth behavior at varying oxygen concentrations, a set of isogenic mutant strains was created, which lack NADH dehydrogenase I as well as two of the terminal oxidases, resulting in strains with a linear respiratory chain. These strains were analyzed in glucose-limited chemostat experiments with defined oxygen supply, adjusting aerobic, anaerobic and different microaerobic conditions. In contrast to the wild-type strain MG1655, the mutant strains produced acetate even under aerobic conditions. Strain TBE032, lacking NADH dehydrogenase I and expressing cytochrome bd-II as sole terminal oxidase, showed the highest acetate formation rate under aerobic conditions. This supports the idea that cytochrome bd-II terminal oxidase is not able to catalyze the efficient oxidation of the quinol pool at higher oxygen conditions, but is functioning mainly under limiting oxygen conditions. Phosphorylation of ArcA, the regulator of the two-component system ArcBA, besides Fnr the main transcription factor for the response towards different oxygen concentrations, was studied. Its phosphorylation pattern was changed in the mutant strains. Dephosphorylation and therefore inactivation of ArcA started at lower aerobiosis levels than in the wild-type strain. Notably, not only the micro- and aerobic metabolism was affected by the mutations, but also the anaerobic metabolism, where the respiratory chain should not be important.

Authors: None

Date Published: 27th Jan 2014

Journal: PLoS One

Abstract (Expand)

We present an experimental and computational pipeline for the generation of kinetic models of metabolism, and demonstrate its application to glycolysis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Starting from an approximate mathematical model, we employ a "cycle of knowledge" strategy, identifying the steps with most control over flux. Kinetic parameters of the individual isoenzymes within these steps are measured experimentally under a standardised set of conditions. Experimental strategies are applied to establish a set of in vivo concentrations for isoenzymes and metabolites. The data are integrated into a mathematical model that is used to predict a new set of metabolite concentrations and reevaluate the control properties of the system. This bottom-up modelling study reveals that control over the metabolic network most directly involved in yeast glycolysis is more widely distributed than previously thought.

Authors: K. Smallbone, H. L. Messiha, K. M. Carroll, C. L. Winder, N. Malys, W. B. Dunn, E. Murabito, N. Swainston, J. O. Dada, F. Khan, P. Pir, E. Simeonidis, I. Spasic, J. Wishart, D. Weichart, N. W. Hayes, D. Jameson, D. S. Broomhead, S. G. Oliver, S. J. Gaskell, J. E. McCarthy, N. W. Paton, H. V. Westerhoff, D. B. Kell, P. Mendes

Date Published: 9th Jul 2013

Journal: FEBS Lett

Abstract (Expand)

In response to changing extracellular pH levels, phosphate-limited continuous cultures of Clostridium acetobutylicum reversibly switches its metabolism from the dominant formation of acids to the prevalent production of solvents. Previous experimental and theoretical studies have revealed that this pH-induced metabolic switch involves a rearrangement of the intracellular transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic composition of the clostridial cells. However, the influence of the population dynamics on the observations reported has so far been neglected. Here, we present a method for linking the pH shift, clostridial growth and the acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation metabolic network systematically into a model which combines the dynamics of the external pH and optical density with a metabolic model. Furthermore, the recently found antagonistic expression pattern of the aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenases AdhE1/2 and pH-dependent enzyme activities have been included into this combined model. Our model predictions reveal that the pH-induced metabolic shift under these experimental conditions is governed by a phenotypic switch of predominantly acidogenic subpopulation towards a predominantly solventogenic subpopulation. This model-driven explanation of the pH-induced shift from acidogenesis to solventogenesis by population dynamics casts an entirely new light on the clostridial response to changing pH levels. Moreover, the results presented here underline that pH-dependent growth and pH-dependent specific enzymatic activity play a crucial role in this adaptation. In particular, the behaviour of AdhE1 and AdhE2 seems to be the key factor for the product formation of the two phenotypes, their pH-dependent growth, and thus, the pH-induced metabolic switch in C. acetobutylicum.

Authors: None

Date Published: 3rd May 2013

Journal: Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.

Abstract (Expand)

To gain more insight into the butanol stress response of Clostridium acetobutylicum the transcriptional response of a steady state acidogenic culture to different levels of n-butanol (0.25-1%) was investigated. No effect was observed on the fermentation pattern and expression of typical solvent genes (aad, ctfA/B, adc, bdhA/B, ptb, buk). Elevated levels of butanol mainly affected class I heat-shock genes (hrcA, grpE, dnaK, dnaJ, groES, groEL, hsp90), which were upregulated in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and genes encoding proteins involved in the membrane composition (fab and fad or glycerophospholipid related genes) and various ABC-transporters of unknown specificity. Interestingly, fab and fad genes were embedded in a large, entirely repressed cluster (CAC1988-CAC2019), which inter alia encoded an iron-specific ABC-transporter and molybdenum-cofactor synthesis proteins. Of the glycerophospholipid metabolism, the glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (glpA) gene was highly upregulated, whereas a glycerophosphodiester ABC-transporter (ugpAEBC) and a phosphodiesterase (ugpC) were repressed. On the megaplasmid, only a few genes showed differential expression, e.g. a rare lipoprotein (CAP0058, repressed) and a membrane protein (CAP0102, upregulated) gene. Observed transcriptional responses suggest that C. acetobutylicum reacts to butanol stress by induction of the general stress response and changing its cell envelope and transporter composition, but leaving the central catabolism unaffected. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authors: Katrin Schwarz, Wouter Kuit, Christina Grimmler, Armin Ehrenreich, Servé Kengen

Date Published: 1st Mar 2012

Journal: Journal of Biotechnology

Abstract (Expand)

Common laboratory strains of Bacillus subtilis encode two glutamate dehydrogenases: the enzymatically active protein RocG and the cryptic enzyme GudB that is inactive due to a duplication of three amino acids in its active center. The inactivation of the rocG gene results in poor growth of the bacteria on complex media due to the accumulation of toxic intermediates. Therefore, rocG mutants readily acquire suppressor mutations that decryptify the gudB gene. This decryptification occurs by a precise deletion of one part of the 9-bp direct repeat that causes the amino acid duplication. This mutation occurs at the extremely high frequency of 10(-4). Mutations affecting the integrity of the direct repeat result in a strong reduction of the mutation frequency; however, the actual sequence of the repeat is not essential. The mutation frequency of gudB was not affected by the position of the gene on the chromosome. When the direct repeat was placed in the completely different context of an artificial promoter, the precise deletion of one part of the repeat was also observed, but the mutation frequency was reduced by 3 orders of magnitude. Thus, transcription of the gudB gene seems to be essential for the high frequency of the appearance of the gudB1 mutation. This idea is supported by the finding that the transcription-repair coupling factor Mfd is required for the decryptification of gudB. The Mfd-mediated coupling of transcription to mutagenesis might be a built-in precaution that facilitates the accumulation of mutations preferentially in transcribed genes.

Authors: Katrin Gunka, Stefan Tholen, Jan Gerwig, Christina Herzberg, Joerg Stuelke, Fabian M Commichau

Date Published: 16th Dec 2011

Journal: J. Bacteriol.

Abstract (Expand)

One of the main pathways for the detoxification of reactive metabolites in the liver involves glutathione conjugation. Metabolic profiling studies have shown paradoxical responses in glutathione-related biochemical pathways. One of these is the increase in 5-oxoproline and ophthalmic acid concentrations with increased dosage of paracetamol. Experimental studies have thus far failed to resolve these paradoxes and the robustness of how these proposed biomarkers correlate with liver glutathione levels has been questioned. To better understand how these biomarkers behave in the glutathione system a kinetic model of this pathway was made. By using metabolic control analysis and by simulating biomarker levels under a variety of conditions, we found that 5-oxoproline and ophthalmic acid concentrations may not only depend on the glutathione but also on the methionine status of the cell. We show that neither of the two potential biomarkers are reliable on their own since they need additional information about the methionine status of the system to relate them uniquely to intracellular glutathione concentration. However, when both biomarkers are measured simultaneously a direct inference of the glutathione concentration can be made, irrespective of the methionine concentration in the system.

Authors: Suzanne Geenen, Franco Du Preez, Michael Reed, H Frederik Nijhout, J Gerry Kenna, Ian D Wilson, Hans Westerhoff, Jacky Snoep

Date Published: 24th Aug 2011

Journal: Eur J Pharm Sci

Abstract (Expand)

Bacterial promoters are recognized by RNA polymerase (RNAP) σ subunit, which specifically interacts with the -10 and -35 promoter elements. Here, we provide evidence that the β' zipper, an evolutionarily conserved loop of the largest subunit of RNAP core, interacts with promoter spacer, a DNA segment that separates the -10 and -35 promoter elements, and facilitates the formation of stable closed promoter complex. Depending on the spacer sequence, the proposed interaction of the β' zipper with the spacer can also facilitate open promoter complex formation and even substitute for interactions of the σ subunit with the -35 element. These results suggest that there exists a novel class of promoters that rely on interaction of the β' zipper with promoter spacer, along with or instead of interactions of σ subunit with the -35 element, for their activity. Finally, our data suggest that sequence-dependent interactions of the β' zipper with DNA can contribute to promoter-proximal σ-dependent RNAP pausing, a recently recognized important step of transcription control.

Authors: Yulia Yuzenkova, Vasisht R Tadigotla, Konstantin Severinov, Nikolay Zenkin

Date Published: 26th Jul 2011

Journal: EMBO J.

Abstract (Expand)

As a versatile pathogen Staphylococcus aureus can cause various disease patterns, which are influenced by strain specific virulence factor repertoires but also by S. aureus physiological adaptation capacity. Here, we present metabolomic descriptions of S. aureus central metabolic pathways and demonstrate the potential for combined metabolomics- and proteomics-based approaches for the basic research of this important pathogen. This study provides a time-resolved picture of more than 500 proteins and 94 metabolites during the transition from exponential growth to glucose starvation. Under glucose excess, cells exhibited higher levels of proteins involved in glycolysis and protein-synthesis, whereas entry into the stationary phase triggered an increase of enzymes of TCC and gluconeogenesis. These alterations in levels of metabolic enzymes were paralleled by more pronounced changes in the concentrations of associated metabolites, in particular, intermediates of the glycolysis and several amino acids.

Authors: Manuel Liebeke, Kirsten Dörries, Daniela Zühlke, Jörg Bernhardt, Stephan Fuchs, Jan Pané-Farré, Susanne Engelmann, Uwe Voelker, Rüdiger Bode, Thomas Dandekar, Ulrike Lindequist, Michael Hecker, Michael Lalk

Date Published: 1st Apr 2011

Journal: Mol Biosyst

Abstract (Expand)

Streptomyces coelicolor, the model species of the genus Streptomyces, presents a complex life cycle of successive morphological and biochemical changes involving the formation of substrate and aerial mycelium, sporulation and the production of antibiotics. The switch from primary to secondary metabolism can be triggered by nutrient starvation and is of particular interest as some of the secondary metabolites produced by related Streptomycetes are commercially relevant. To understand these events on a molecular basis, a reliable technical platform encompassing reproducible fermentation as well as generation of coherent transcriptomic data is required. Here, we investigate the technical basis of a previous study as reported by Nieselt et al. (BMC Genomics 11:10, 2010) in more detail, based on the same samples and focusing on the validation of the custom-designed microarray as well as on the reproducibility of the data generated from biological replicates. We show that the protocols developed result in highly coherent transcriptomic measurements. Furthermore, we use the data to predict chromosomal gene clusters, extending previously known clusters as well as predicting interesting new clusters with consistent functional annotations.

Authors: F. Battke, A. Herbig, A. Wentzel, O. M. Jakobsen, M. Bonin, D. A. Hodgson, W. Wohlleben, T. E. Ellingsen, K. Nieselt

Date Published: 25th Mar 2011

Journal: Adv Exp Med Biol

Abstract (Expand)

To maintain optimal intracellular concentrations of alkali-metal-cations, yeast cells use a series of influx and efflux systems. Nonconventional yeast species have at least three different types of efficient transporters that ensure potassium uptake and accumulation in cells. Most of them have Trk uniporters and Hak K(+) -H(+) symporters and a few yeast species also have the rare K(+) (Na(+) )-uptake ATPase Acu. To eliminate surplus potassium or toxic sodium cations, various yeast species use highly conserved Nha Na(+) (K(+) )/H(+) antiporters and Na(+) (K(+) )-efflux Ena ATPases. The potassium-specific yeast Tok1 channel is also highly conserved among various yeast species and its activity is important for the regulation of plasma membrane potential.

Authors: None

Date Published: 1st Feb 2011

Journal: FEMS Microbiol. Lett.

Abstract (Expand)

Fluorescence microscopy is an imaging technique that provides insights into signal transduction pathways through the generation of quantitative data, such as the spatiotemporal distribution of GFP-tagged proteins in signaling pathways. The data acquired are, however, usually a composition of both the GFP-tagged proteins of interest and of an autofluorescent background, which both undergo photobleaching during imaging. We here present a mathematical model based on ordinary differential equations that successfully describes the shuttling of intracellular Mig1-GFP under changing environmental conditions regarding glucose concentration. Our analysis separates the different bleaching rates of Mig1-GFP and background, and the background-to-Mig1-GFP ratio. By applying our model to experimental data, we can thus extract the Mig1-GFP signal from the overall acquired signal and investigate the influence of kinase and phosphatase on Mig1. We found a stronger regulation of Mig1 through its kinase than through its phosphatase when controlled by the glucose concentration, with a constant (de)phosphorylation rate independent of the glucose concentration. By replacing the term for decreasing excited Mig1-GFP concentration with a constant, we were able to reconstruct the dynamics of Mig1-GFP, as it would occur without bleaching and background noise. Our model effectively demonstrates how data, acquired with an optical microscope, can be processed and used for a systems biology analysis of signal transduction pathways.

Authors: Simone Frey, Kristin Sott, Maria Smedh, Thomas Millat, Peter Dahl, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Mattias Goksör

Date Published: 2011

Journal: Mol. BioSyst.

Abstract (Expand)

Background: Clostridium acetobutylicum is an anaerobic bacterium which is known for its solvent-producing capabilities, namely regarding the bulk chemicals acetone and butanol, the latter being a highly efficient biofuel. For butanol production by C. acetobutylicum to be optimized and exploited on an industrial scale, the effect of pH-induced gene regulation on solvent production by C. acetobutylicum in continuous culture must be understood as fully as possible. Results: We present an ordinary differential equation model combining the metabolic network governing solvent production with regulation at the genetic level of the enzymes required for this process. Parameterizing the model with experimental data from continuous culture, we demonstrate the influence of pH upon fermentation products: at high pH (pH 5.7) acids are the dominant product while at low pH (pH 4.5) this switches to solvents. Through steady-state analyses of the model we focus our investigations on how alteration in gene expression of C. acetobutylicum could be exploited to increase butanol yield in a continuous culture fermentation. Conclusions: Incorporating gene regulation into the mathematical model of solvent production by C. acetobutylicum enables an accurate representation of the pH-induced switch to solvent production to be obtained and theoretical investigations of possible synthetic-biology approaches to be pursued. Steady-state analyses suggest that, to increase butanol yield, alterations in the expression of single solvent-associated genes are insufficient; a more complex approach targeting two or more genes is required.

Authors: None

Date Published: 2011

Journal: BMC Syst Biol

Abstract (Expand)

The complex changes in the life cycle of Clostridium acetobutylicum, a promising biofuel producer, are not well understood. During exponential growth, sugars are fermented to acetate and butyrate, and in the transition phase, the metabolism switches to the production of the solvents acetone and butanol accompanied by the initiation of endospore formation. Using phosphate-limited chemostat cultures at pH 5.7, C. acetobutylicum was kept at a steady state of acidogenic metabolism, whereas at pH 4.5, the cells showed stable solvent production without sporulation. Novel proteome reference maps of cytosolic proteins from both acidogenesis and solventogenesis with a high degree of reproducibility were generated. Yielding a 21% coverage, 15 protein spots were specifically assigned to the acidogenic phase, and 29 protein spots exhibited a significantly higher abundance in the solventogenic phase. Besides well-known metabolic proteins, unexpected proteins were also identified. Among these, the two proteins CAP0036 and CAP0037 of unknown function were found as major striking indicator proteins in acidogenic cells. Proteome data were confirmed by genome-wide DNA microarray analyses of the identical cultures. Thus, a first systematic study of acidogenic and solventogenic chemostat cultures is presented, and similarities as well as differences to previous studies of batch cultures are discussed.

Authors: Holger Janssen, Christina Döring, Armin Ehrenreich, Birgit Voigt, Michael Hecker, Hubert Bahl, Ralf-Jörg Fischer

Date Published: 1st Aug 2010

Journal: Appl Microbiol Biotechnol

Abstract (Expand)

The maintenance of appropriate intracellular concentrations of alkali metal cations, principally K(+) and Na(+), is of utmost importance for living cells, since they determine cell volume, intracellular pH, and potential across the plasma membrane, among other important cellular parameters. Yeasts have developed a number of strategies to adapt to large variations in the concentrations of these cations in the environment, basically by controlling transport processes. Plasma membrane high-affinity K(+) transporters allow intracellular accumulation of this cation even when it is scarce in the environment. Exposure to high concentrations of Na(+) can be tolerated due to the existence of an Na(+), K(+)-ATPase and an Na(+), K(+)/H(+)-antiporter, which contribute to the potassium balance as well. Cations can also be sequestered through various antiporters into intracellular organelles, such as the vacuole. Although some uncertainties still persist, the nature of the major structural components responsible for alkali metal cation fluxes across yeast membranes has been defined within the last 20 years. In contrast, the regulatory components and their interactions are, in many cases, still unclear. Conserved signaling pathways (e.g., calcineurin and HOG) are known to participate in the regulation of influx and efflux processes at the plasma membrane level, even though the molecular details are obscure. Similarly, very little is known about the regulation of organellar transport and homeostasis of alkali metal cations. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date vision of the mechanisms responsible for alkali metal cation transport and their regulation in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and to establish, when possible, comparisons with other yeasts and higher plants.

Authors: None

Date Published: 4th Mar 2010

Journal: Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev.

Abstract (Expand)

Two-component systems (TCSs) are widely employed by bacteria to sense specific external signals and conduct an appropriate response via a phosphorylation cascade within the cell. The TCS of the agr operon in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus forms part of a regulatory process termed quorum sensing, a cell-to-cell communication mechanism used to assess population density. Since S. aureus manipulates this "knowledge" in order to co-ordinate production of its armoury of exotoxin virulence factors required to promote infection, it is important to understand fully how this process works. We present three models of the agr operon, each incorporating a different phosphorylation cascade for the TCS since the precise nature of the cascade is not fully understood. Using numerical and asymptotic techniques we examine the effects of inhibitor therapy, a novel approach to controlling bacterial infection through the attenuation of virulence, on each of these three cascades. We present results which, if evaluated against appropriate experimental data, provide insights into the potential effectiveness of such therapy. Moreover, the TCS models presented here are of broad relevance given that TCSs are widely conserved throughout the bacterial kingdom.

Authors: Sara Jabbari, John King, Paul Williams

Date Published: 30th Nov 2009

Journal: Math Biosci

Abstract (Expand)

SUMMARY: Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) is the leading exchange format for mathematical models in Systems Biology. Semantic annotations link model elements with external knowledge via unique database identifiers and ontology terms, enabling software to check and process models by their biochemical meaning. Such information is essential for model merging, one of the key steps towards the construction of large kinetic models. SemanticSBML is a tool that helps users to check and edit MIRIAM annotations and SBO terms in SBML models. Using a large collection of biochemical names and database identifiers, it supports modellers in finding the right annotations and in merging existing models. Initially, an element matching is derived from the MIRIAM annotations and conflicting element attributes are categorized and highlighted. Conflicts can then be resolved automatically or manually, allowing the user to control the merging process in detail. AVAILABILITY: SemanticSBML comes as a free software written in Python and released under the GPL 3. A Debian package, a source package for other Linux distributions, a Windows installer and an online version of semanticSBML with limited functionality are available at A preinstalled version can be found on the Linux live DVD SB.OS, available at SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Authors: Falko Krause, Jannis Uhlendorf, Timo Lubitz, Marvin Schulz, Edda Klipp, Wolfram Liebermeister

Date Published: 17th Nov 2009

Journal: Bioinformatics

Abstract (Expand)

Coordination of DNA replication with cellular development is a crucial problem in most living organisms. Bacillus subtilis cells switch from vegetative growth to sporulation when starved. Sporulation normally occurs in cells that have stopped replicating DNA and have two completed chromosomes: one destined for the prespore and the other for the mother cell. It has long been recognized that there is a sensitive period in the cell cycle during which the initiation of spore development can be triggered, presumably to allow for the generation of exactly two complete chromosomes. However, the mechanism responsible for this has remained unclear. Here we show that the sda gene, previously identified as a checkpoint factor preventing sporulation in response to DNA damage, exerts cell cycle control over the initiation of sporulation. Expression of sda occurs in a pulsatile manner, with a burst of expression each cell cycle at the onset of DNA replication. Up-regulation of the intrinsically unstable Sda protein, which is dependent on the active form of the DNA replication initiator protein, DnaA, transiently inhibits the initiation of sporulation. This regulation avoids the generation of spore formers with replicating chromosomes, which would result in diploid or polyploid spores that we show have reduced viability.

Authors: Jan-Willem Veening, Heath Murray, Jeff Errington

Date Published: 18th Aug 2009

Journal: Genes Dev.

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis is a well-established cellular factory for proteins and fine chemicals. In particular, the direct secretion of proteinaceous products into the growth medium greatly facilitates their downstream processing, which is an important advantage of B. subtilis over other biotechnological production hosts, such as Escherichia coli. The application spectrum of B. subtilis is, however, often confined to proteins from Bacillus or closely related species. One of the major reasons for this (current) limitation is the inefficient formation of disulfide bonds, which are found in many, especially eukaryotic, proteins. Future exploitation of B. subtilis to fulfill the ever-growing demand for pharmaceutical and other high-value proteins will therefore depend on overcoming this particular hurdle. Recently, promising advances in this area have been achieved, which focus attention on the need to modulate the cellular levels and activity of thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases (TDORs). These TDORs are enzymes that control the cleavage or formation of disulfide bonds. This review will discuss readily applicable approaches for TDOR modulation and aims to provide leads for further improvement of the Bacillus cell factory for production of disulfide bond-containing proteins.

Authors: Thijs R H M Kouwen, Jan Maarten Van Dijl

Date Published: 11th Jun 2009

Journal: Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis is the model organism for Gram-positive bacteria, with a large amount of publications on all aspects of its biology. To facilitate genome annotation and the collection of comprehensive information on B. subtilis, we created SubtiWiki as a community-oriented annotation tool for information retrieval and continuous maintenance. The wiki is focused on the needs and requirements of scientists doing experimental work. This has implications for the design of the interface and for the layout of the individual pages. The pages can be accessed primarily by the gene designations. All pages have a similar flexible structure and provide links to related gene pages in SubtiWiki or to information in the World Wide Web. Each page gives comprehensive information on the gene, the encoded protein or RNA as well as information related to the current investigation of the gene/protein. The wiki has been seeded with information from key publications and from the most relevant general and B. subtilis-specific databases. We think that SubtiWiki might serve as an example for other scientific wikis that are devoted to the genes and proteins of one organism.Database URL: The wiki can be accessed at

Authors: Lope A. Florez, Sebastian F Roppel, Arne G Schmeisky, Christoph R Lammers, Joerg Stuelke

Date Published: 26th May 2009

Journal: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Analysis of metabolome samples by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry requires a comprehensive derivatization method to afford quantitative and qualitative information of a complex biological sample. Here we describe an extremely time-effective microwave-assisted protocol for the commonly used methoxyamine and N-methyl-N-trimethylsilylfluoracetamide silylation method of primary metabolites. Our studies show that microwave irradiation can decrease the sample preparation time from approximately 120 min to 6 min without loss of either qualitative or quantitative information for the tested synthetic metabolite mixtures and microbial-derived metabolome samples collected from Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. Comparisons of metabolic fingerprints and selected metabolites show no noticeable differences compared with the commonly used heating block methods.

Authors: Manuel Liebeke, Ariane Wunder, Michael Lalk

Date Published: 4th Feb 2009

Journal: Anal. Biochem.

Abstract (Expand)

Metabolic models have the potential to impact on genome annotation and on the interpretation of gene expression and other high throughput genome data. The genome of Streptomyces coelicolor genome has been sequenced and some 30% of the open reading frames (ORFs) lack any functional annotation. A recently constructed metabolic network model for S. coelicolor highlights biochemical functions which should exist to make the metabolic model complete and consistent. These include 205 reactions for which no ORF is associated. Here we combine protein functional predictions for the unannotated open reading frames in the genome with \'missing but expected\' functions inferred from the metabolic model. The approach allows function predictions to be evaluated in the context of the biochemical pathway reconstruction, and feed back iteratively into the metabolic model. We describe the approach and discuss a few illustrative examples.

Authors: Mansoor Saqi, Richard J B Dobson, Preben Kraben, David Hodgson, David Wild

Date Published: 13th Nov 2008

Journal: J Integr Bioinform

Abstract (Expand)

Calmodulin plays a vital role in mediating bidirectional synaptic plasticity by activating either calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) or protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B) at different calcium concentrations. We propose an allosteric model for calmodulin activation, in which binding to calcium facilitates the transition between a low-affinity [tense (T)] and a high-affinity [relaxed (R)] state. The four calcium-binding sites are assumed to be nonidentical. The model is consistent with previously reported experimental data for calcium binding to calmodulin. It also accounts for known properties of calmodulin that have been difficult to model so far, including the activity of nonsaturated forms of calmodulin (we predict the existence of open conformations in the absence of calcium), an increase in calcium affinity once calmodulin is bound to a target, and the differential activation of CaMKII and PP2B depending on calcium concentration.

Authors: Melanie Stefan, S. J. Edelstein, N. Le Novere

Date Published: 31st Jul 2008

Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Abstract (Expand)

Many microorganisms, including bacteria of the class Streptomycetes, produce various secondary metabolites including antibiotics to gain a competitive advantage in their natural habitat. The production of these compounds is highly coordinated in a population to expedite accumulation to an effective concentration. Furthermore, as antibiotics are often toxic even to their producers, a coordinated production allows microbes to first arm themselves with a defense mechanism to resist their own antibiotics before production commences. One possible mechanism of coordination among individuals is through the production of signaling molecules. The gamma-butyrolactone system in Streptomyces coelicolor is a model of such a signaling system for secondary metabolite production. The accumulation of these signaling molecules triggers antibiotic production in the population. A pair of repressor-amplifier proteins encoded by scbA and scbR mediates the production and action of one particular gamma-butyrolactone, SCB1. Based on the proposed interactions of scbA and scbR, a mathematical model was constructed and used to explore the ability of this system to act as a robust genetic switch. Stability analysis shows that the butyrolactone system exhibits bistability and, in response to a threshold SCB1 concentration, can switch from an OFF state to an ON state corresponding to the activation of genes in the cryptic type I polyketide synthase gene cluster, which are responsible for production of the hypothetical polyketide. The switching time is inversely related to the inducer concentration above the threshold, such that short pulses of low inducer concentration cannot switch on the system, suggesting its possible role in noise filtering. In contrast, secondary metabolite production can be triggered rapidly in a population of cells producing the butyrolactone signal due to the presence of an amplification loop in the system. S. coelicolor was perturbed experimentally by varying concentrations of SCB1, and the model simulations match the experimental data well. Deciphering the complexity of this butyrolactone switch will provide valuable insights into how robust and efficient systems can be designed using "simple" two-protein networks.

Authors: Sarika Mehra, Salim Charaniya, Eriko Takano, Wei-Shou Hu

Date Published: 2nd May 2008

Journal: PLoS ONE


Not specified

Authors: William Gaze, Colette O'Neill, Elizabeth Wellington, Peter Hawkey

Date Published: 9th Apr 2008

Journal: Adv. Appl. Microbiol.

Abstract (Expand)

Photoperiodism allows organisms to measure daylength, or external photoperiod, and to anticipate coming seasons. Daylength measurement requires the integration of light signal and temporal information by the circadian clock. In the long-day plant Arabidopsis thaliana, CONSTANS (CO) plays a crucial role in integrating the circadian rhythm and environmental light signals into the photoperiodic flowering pathway. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism by which the circadian clock modulates the cyclic expression profile of CO is poorly understood. Here, we first showed that the clock-associated genes PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATOR (PRR) PRR9, PRR7 and PRR5 are involved in activation of CO expression during the daytime. Then, extensive genetic studies using CIRCADIAN CLOCK-ASSOCIATED1 (CCA1)/LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL (LHY) double mutants (cca1/lhy) and prr7/prr5 were conducted. The results suggested that PRR genes act coordinately in a manner parallel with and antagonistic to CCA/LHY, upstream of the canonical CO-FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) photoperiodic flowering pathway. Finally, we provided evidence to propose a model, in which CCA1/LHY repress CO through GIGANTEA (GI), while PRR9, PRR7 and PRR5 activate CO predominantly by repressing CYCLING DOF FACTOR1 (CDF1) encoding a DNA-binding transcriptional repressor.

Authors: N. Nakamichi, M. Kita, K. Niinuma, S. Ito, T. Yamashino, T. Mizoguchi, T. Mizuno

Date Published: 17th May 2007

Journal: Plant Cell Physiol

Abstract (Expand)

Bile, the central metabolic product of the liver, is transported by the bile canaliculi network. The impairment of bile flow in cholestatic liver diseases has urged a demand for insights into its regulation. Here, we developed a predictive 3D multi-scale model that simulates fluid dynamic properties successively from the subcellular to the tissue level. The model integrates the structure of the bile canalicular network in the mouse liver lobule, as determined by high-resolution confocal and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy, with measurements of bile transport by intravital microscopy. The combined experiment-theory approach revealed spatial heterogeneities of biliary geometry and hepatocyte transport activity. Based on this, our model predicts gradients of bile velocity and pressure in the liver lobule. Validation of the model predictions by pharmacological inhibition of Rho kinase demonstrated a requirement of canaliculi contractility for bile flow in vivo. Our model can be applied to functionally characterize liver diseases and quantitatively estimate biliary transport upon drug-induced liver injury.

Authors: K. Meyer, O. Ostrenko, G. Bourantas, H. Morales-Navarrete, N. Porat-Shliom, F. Segovia-Miranda, H. Nonaka, A. Ghaemi, J. M. Verbavatz, Lutz Brusch, I. Sbalzarini, Y. Kalaidzidis, R. Weigert, M. Zerial

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Cell Syst

Abstract (Expand)

Amino acids (aa) are not only building blocks for proteins, but also signalling molecules, with the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) acting as a key mediator. However, little is known about whether aa, independently of mTORC1, activate other kinases of the mTOR signalling network. To delineate aa-stimulated mTOR network dynamics, we here combine a computational-experimental approach with text mining-enhanced quantitative proteomics. We report that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) are acutely activated by aa-readdition in an mTORC1-independent manner. AMPK activation by aa is mediated by Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase beta (CaMKKbeta). In response, AMPK impinges on the autophagy regulators Unc-51-like kinase-1 (ULK1) and c-Jun. AMPK is widely recognized as an mTORC1 antagonist that is activated by starvation. We find that aa acutely activate AMPK concurrently with mTOR. We show that AMPK under aa sufficiency acts to sustain autophagy. This may be required to maintain protein homoeostasis and deliver metabolite intermediates for biosynthetic processes.

Authors: P. Dalle Pezze, S. Ruf, A. G. Sonntag, M. Langelaar-Makkinje, P. Hall, A. M. Heberle, Patricia Razquin Navas, K. van Eunen, R. C. Tolle, J. J. Schwarz, H. Wiese, B. Warscheid, J. Deitersen, B. Stork, E. Fassler, S. Schauble, U. Hahn, P. Horvatovich, Daryl Shanley, Kathrin Thedieck

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Nat Commun

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