skip to main content

Title: Rubisco regulation in response to altered carbon status in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942

Photosynthetic organisms possess a variety of mechanisms to achieve balance between absorbed light (source) and the capacity to metabolically utilize or dissipate this energy (sink). While regulatory processes that detect changes in metabolic status/balance are relatively well studied in plants, analogous pathways remain poorly characterized in photosynthetic microbes. Here, we explored systemic changes that result from alterations in carbon availability in the model cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 by taking advantage of an engineered strain where influx/efflux of a central carbon metabolite, sucrose, can be regulated experimentally. We observed that induction of a high-flux sucrose export pathway leads to depletion of internal carbon storage pools (glycogen) and concurrent increases in estimates of photosynthetic activity. Further, a proteome-wide analysis and fluorescence reporter-based analysis revealed that upregulated factors following the activation of the metabolic sink are concentrated on ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (Rubisco) and auxiliary modules involved in Rubisco maturation. Carboxysome number and Rubisco activity also increased following engagement of sucrose secretion. Conversely, reversing the flux of sucrose by feeding exogenous sucrose through the heterologous transporter resulted in increased glycogen pools, decreased Rubisco abundance, and carboxysome reorganization. Our data suggest that Rubisco activity and organization are key variables connected to regulatory pathways involved in metabolic balancing in cyanobacteria.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Plant Physiology
Medium: X Size: p. 874-888
["p. 874-888"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT Biofilms are structured communities of tightly associated cells that constitute the predominant state of bacterial growth in natural and human-made environments. Although the core genetic circuitry that controls biofilm formation in model bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis has been well characterized, little is known about the role that metabolism plays in this complex developmental process. Here, we performed a time-resolved analysis of the metabolic changes associated with pellicle biofilm formation and development in B. subtilis by combining metabolomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses. We report surprisingly widespread and dynamic remodeling of metabolism affecting central carbon metabolism, primary biosynthetic pathways, fermentation pathways, and secondary metabolism. Most of these metabolic alterations were hitherto unrecognized as biofilm associated. For example, we observed increased activity of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle during early biofilm growth, a shift from fatty acid biosynthesis to fatty acid degradation, reorganization of iron metabolism and transport, and a switch from acetate to acetoin fermentation. Close agreement between metabolomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic measurements indicated that remodeling of metabolism during biofilm development was largely controlled at the transcriptional level. Our results also provide insights into the transcription factors and regulatory networks involved in this complex metabolic remodeling. Following upon these results, we demonstrated that acetoin production via acetolactate synthase is essential for robust biofilm growth and has the dual role of conserving redox balance and maintaining extracellular pH. This report represents a comprehensive systems-level investigation of the metabolic remodeling occurring during B. subtilis biofilm development that will serve as a useful road map for future studies on biofilm physiology. IMPORTANCE Bacterial biofilms are ubiquitous in natural environments and play an important role in many clinical, industrial, and ecological settings. Although much is known about the transcriptional regulatory networks that control biofilm formation in model bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis , very little is known about the role of metabolism in this complex developmental process. To address this important knowledge gap, we performed a time-resolved analysis of the metabolic changes associated with bacterial biofilm development in B. subtilis by combining metabolomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses. Here, we report a widespread and dynamic remodeling of metabolism affecting central carbon metabolism, primary biosynthetic pathways, fermentation pathways, and secondary metabolism. This report serves as a unique hypothesis-generating resource for future studies on bacterial biofilm physiology. Outside the biofilm research area, this work should also prove relevant to any investigators interested in microbial physiology and metabolism. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Many carbon‐fixing organisms have evolved CO2concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) to enhance the delivery of CO2to RuBisCO, while minimizing reactions with the competitive inhibitor, molecular O2. These distinct types of CCMs have been extensively studied using genetics, biochemistry, cell imaging, mass spectrometry, and metabolic flux analysis. Highlighted in this paper, the cyanobacterial CCM features a bacterial microcompartment (BMC) called ‘carboxysome’ in which RuBisCO is co‐encapsulated with the enzyme carbonic anhydrase (CA) within a semi‐permeable protein shell. The cyanobacterial CCM is capable of increasing CO2around RuBisCO, leading to one of the most efficient processes known for fixing ambient CO2. The carboxysome life cycle is dynamic and creates a unique subcellular environment that promotes activity of the Calvin–Benson (CB) cycle. The carboxysome may function within a larger cellular metabolon, physical association of functionally coupled proteins, to enhance metabolite channelling and carbon flux. In light of CCMs, synthetic biology approaches have been used to improve enzyme complex for CO2fixations. Research on CCM‐associated metabolons has also inspired biologists to engineer multi‐step pathways by providing anchoring points for enzyme cascades to channel intermediate metabolites towards valuable products.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract Plain language summary

    Cyanobacteria are well known to fix atmospheric CO2into sugars using the enzyme Rubisco. Less appreciated are the carbon‐fixing abilities of proteobacteria with diverse metabolisms. Bacterial Rubisco is housed within organelles called carboxysomes that increase enzymatic efficiency. Here we show that proteobacterial carboxysomes are distributed in the cell by two proteins, McdA and McdB. McdA on the nucleoid interacts with McdB on carboxysomes to equidistantly space carboxysomes from one another, ensuring metabolic homeostasis and a proper inheritance of carboxysomes following cell division. This study illuminates how widespread carboxysome positioning systems are among diverse bacteria. Carboxysomes significantly contribute to global carbon fixation; therefore, understanding the spatial organization mechanism shared across the bacterial world is of great interest.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Growing evidence across organisms points to altered energy metabolism as an adverse outcome of metal oxide nanomaterial toxicity, with a mechanism of toxicity potentially related to the redox chemistry of processes involved in energy production. Despite this evidence, the significance of this mechanism has gone unrecognized in nanotoxicology due to the field’s focus on oxidative stress as a universal—but non-specific—nanotoxicity mechanism. To further explore metabolic impacts, we determined LCO’s effects on these pathways in the model organism Daphnia magna through global gene expression analysis using RNA-Seq and untargeted metabolomics by direct-injection mass spectrometry. Our results show a sublethal 1 mg/L 48 h exposure of D. magna to LCO nanosheets causes significant impacts on metabolic pathways versus untreated controls, while exposure to ions released over 48 hr does not. Specifically, transcriptomic analysis using DAVID indicated significant enrichment (Benjamini-adjusted p ≤0.0.5) in LCO-exposed animals for changes in pathways involved in the cellular response to starvation (25 genes), mitochondrial function (70 genes), ATP-binding (70 genes), oxidative phosphorylation (53 genes), NADH dehydrogenase activity (12 genes), and protein biosynthesis (40 genes). Metabolomic analysis using MetaboAnalyst indicated significant enrichment (gamma-adjusted p < 0.1) for changes in amino acid metabolism (19 metabolites) and starch, sucrose, and galactose metabolism (7 metabolites). Overlap of significantly impacted pathways by RNA-Seq and metabolomics suggests amino acid breakdown and increased sugar import for energy production. Results indicate that LCO-exposed Daphnia are responding to energy starvation by altering metabolic pathways, both at the gene expression and metabolite level. These results support altered energy production as a sensitive nanotoxicity adverse outcome for LCO exposure and suggest negative impacts on energy metabolism as an important avenue for future studies of nanotoxicity, including for other biological systems and for metal oxide nanomaterials more broadly. 
    more » « less
  5. Komeili, Arash (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Cyanobacteria are the prokaryotic group of phytoplankton responsible for a significant fraction of global CO 2 fixation. Like plants, cyanobacteria use the enzyme ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxidase (Rubisco) to fix CO 2 into organic carbon molecules via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle. Unlike plants, cyanobacteria evolved a carbon-concentrating organelle called the carboxysome—a proteinaceous compartment that encapsulates and concentrates Rubisco along with its CO 2 substrate. In the rod-shaped cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, we recently identified the McdAB system responsible for uniformly distributing carboxysomes along the cell length. It remains unknown what role carboxysome positioning plays with respect to cellular physiology. Here, we show that a failure to distribute carboxysomes leads to slower cell growth, cell elongation, asymmetric cell division, and elevated levels of cellular Rubisco. Unexpectedly, we also report that even wild-type S. elongatus undergoes cell elongation and asymmetric cell division when grown at the cool, but environmentally relevant, growth temperature of 20°C or when switched from a high- to ambient-CO 2 environment. The findings suggest that carboxysome positioning by the McdAB system functions to maintain the carbon fixation efficiency of Rubisco by preventing carboxysome aggregation, which is particularly important under growth conditions where rod-shaped cyanobacteria adopt a filamentous morphology. IMPORTANCE Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are responsible for almost half of global CO 2 fixation. Due to eutrophication, rising temperatures, and increasing atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, cyanobacteria have gained notoriety for their ability to form massive blooms in both freshwater and marine ecosystems across the globe. Like plants, cyanobacteria use the most abundant enzyme on Earth, Rubisco, to provide the sole source of organic carbon required for its photosynthetic growth. Unlike plants, cyanobacteria have evolved a carbon-concentrating organelle called the carboxysome that encapsulates and concentrates Rubisco with its CO 2 substrate to significantly increase carbon fixation efficiency and cell growth. We recently identified the positioning system that distributes carboxysomes in cyanobacteria. However, the physiological consequence of carboxysome mispositioning in the absence of this distribution system remains unknown. Here, we find that carboxysome mispositioning triggers changes in cell growth and morphology as well as elevated levels of cellular Rubisco. 
    more » « less