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  1. Abstract

    As renewed interest in human space-exploration intensifies, a coherent and modernized strategy for mission design and planning has become increasingly crucial. Biotechnology has emerged as a promising approach to increase resilience, flexibility, and efficiency of missions, by virtue of its ability to effectively utilize in situ resources and reclaim resources from waste streams. Here we outline four primary mission-classes on Moon and Mars that drive a staged and accretive biomanufacturing strategy. Each class requires a unique approach to integrate biomanufacturing into the existing mission-architecture and so faces unique challenges in technology development. These challenges stem directly from the resources available in a given mission-class—the degree to which feedstocks are derived from cargo and in situ resources—and the degree to which loop-closure is necessary. As mission duration and distance from Earth increase, the benefits of specialized, sustainable biomanufacturing processes also increase. Consequentially, we define specific design-scenarios and quantify the usefulness of in-space biomanufacturing, to guide techno-economics of space-missions. Especially materials emerged as a potentially pivotal target for biomanufacturing with large impact on up-mass cost. Subsequently, we outline the processes needed for development, testing, and deployment of requisite technologies. As space-related technology development often does, these advancements are likely to have profound implications for the creation of a resilient circular bioeconomy on Earth.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The fitness effects of all possible mutations available to an organism largely shape the dynamics of evolutionary adaptation. Yet, whether and how this adaptive landscape changes over evolutionary times, especially upon ecological diversification and changes in community composition, remains poorly understood. We sought to fill this gap by analyzing a stable community of two closely related ecotypes (“L” and “S”) shortly after they emerged within theE. coliLong-Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE). We engineered genome-wide barcoded transposon libraries to measure the invasion fitness effects of all possible gene knockouts in the coexisting strains as well as their ancestor, for many different, ecologically relevant conditions. We find consistent statistical patterns of fitness effect variation across both genetic background and community composition, despite the idiosyncratic behavior of individual knockouts. Additionally, fitness effects are correlated with evolutionary outcomes for a number of conditions, possibly revealing shifting patterns of adaptation. Together, our results reveal how ecological and epistatic effects combine to shape the adaptive landscape in a nascent ecological community.

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  3. Abstract

    Unraveling the drivers controlling community assembly is a central issue in ecology. Although it is generally accepted that selection, dispersal, diversification and drift are major community assembly processes, defining their relative importance is very challenging. Here, we present a framework to quantitatively infer community assembly mechanisms by phylogenetic bin-based null model analysis (iCAMP). iCAMP shows high accuracy (0.93–0.99), precision (0.80–0.94), sensitivity (0.82–0.94), and specificity (0.95–0.98) on simulated communities, which are 10–160% higher than those from the entire community-based approach. Application of iCAMP to grassland microbial communities in response to experimental warming reveals dominant roles of homogeneous selection (38%) and ‘drift’ (59%). Interestingly, warming decreases ‘drift’ over time, and enhances homogeneous selection which is primarily imposed on Bacillales. In addition, homogeneous selection has higher correlations with drought and plant productivity under warming than control. iCAMP provides an effective and robust tool to quantify microbial assembly processes, and should also be useful for plant and animal ecology.

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  4. Abstract

    Optimizing microbial hosts for the large-scale production of valuable metabolites often requires multiple mutations and modifications to the host’s genome. We describe a three-round screen for increased L-DOPA production inS. cerevisiaeusing FACS enrichment of an enzyme-coupled biosensor for L-DOPA. Multiple rounds of screening were enabled by a single build of a barcodedin vitrotransposon-mediated disruption library. New background strains for screening were built for each iteration using results from previous iterations. The samein vitrotransposon-mediated disruption library was integrated by homologous recombination into new background strains in each round of screening. Compared with creating new transposon insertions in each round, this method takes less time and saves the cost of additional sequencing to characterize transposon insertion sites. In the first two rounds of screening, we identified deletions that improved biosensor compartmentalization and, consequently, improved our ability to screen for L-DOPA production. In a final round, we discovered that deletion of heme oxygenase (HMX1) increases total heme concentration and increases L-DOPA production, using dopamine measurement as a proxy. We further demonstrated that deleting HMX1 may represent a general strategy for P450 function improvement by improving activity of a second P450 enzyme, BM3, which performs a distinct reaction.

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  5. Abstract For over 10 years, ModelSEED has been a primary resource for the construction of draft genome-scale metabolic models based on annotated microbial or plant genomes. Now being released, the biochemistry database serves as the foundation of biochemical data underlying ModelSEED and KBase. The biochemistry database embodies several properties that, taken together, distinguish it from other published biochemistry resources by: (i) including compartmentalization, transport reactions, charged molecules and proton balancing on reactions; (ii) being extensible by the user community, with all data stored in GitHub; and (iii) design as a biochemical ‘Rosetta Stone’ to facilitate comparison and integration of annotations from many different tools and databases. The database was constructed by combining chemical data from many resources, applying standard transformations, identifying redundancies and computing thermodynamic properties. The ModelSEED biochemistry is continually tested using flux balance analysis to ensure the biochemical network is modeling-ready and capable of simulating diverse phenotypes. Ontologies can be designed to aid in comparing and reconciling metabolic reconstructions that differ in how they represent various metabolic pathways. ModelSEED now includes 33,978 compounds and 36,645 reactions, available as a set of extensible files on GitHub, and available to search at and KBase. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The reconstruction of bacterial and archaeal genomes from shotgun metagenomes has enabled insights into the ecology and evolution of environmental and host-associated microbiomes. Here we applied this approach to >10,000 metagenomes collected from diverse habitats covering all of Earth’s continents and oceans, including metagenomes from human and animal hosts, engineered environments, and natural and agricultural soils, to capture extant microbial, metabolic and functional potential. This comprehensive catalog includes 52,515 metagenome-assembled genomes representing 12,556 novel candidate species-level operational taxonomic units spanning 135 phyla. The catalog expands the known phylogenetic diversity of bacteria and archaea by 44% and is broadly available for streamlined comparative analyses, interactive exploration, metabolic modeling and bulk download. We demonstrate the utility of this collection for understanding secondary-metabolite biosynthetic potential and for resolving thousands of new host linkages to uncultivated viruses. This resource underscores the value of genome-centric approaches for revealing genomic properties of uncultivated microorganisms that affect ecosystem processes. 
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