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  1. Abstract Cells can sense changes in their extracellular environment and subsequently adapt their biomass composition. Nutrient abundance defines the capability of the cell to produce biomass components. Under nutrient-limited conditions, resource allocation dramatically shifts to carbon-rich molecules. Here, we used dynamic biomass composition data to predict changes in growth and reaction flux distributions using the available genome-scale metabolic models of five eukaryotic organisms (three heterotrophs and two phototrophs). We identified temporal profiles of metabolic fluxes that indicate long-term trends in pathway and organelle function in response to nitrogen depletion. Surprisingly, our calculations of model sensitivity and biosynthetic cost showed that free energy of biomass metabolites is the main driver of biosynthetic cost and not molecular weight, thus explaining the high costs of arginine and histidine. We demonstrated how metabolic models can accurately predict the complexity of interwoven mechanisms in response to stress over the course of growth.
  2. Abstract

    Microbial communities comprised of phototrophs and heterotrophs hold great promise for sustainable biotechnology. Successful application of these communities relies on the selection of appropriate partners. Here we construct four community metabolic models to guide strain selection, pairing phototrophic, sucrose-secretingSynechococcus elongatuswith heterotrophicEscherichia coliK-12,Escherichia coliW,Yarrowia lipolytica, orBacillus subtilis. Model simulations reveae metabolic exchanges that sustain the heterotrophs in minimal media devoid of any organic carbon source, pointing toS. elongatus-E. coliK-12 as the most active community. Experimental validation of flux predictions for this pair confirms metabolic interactions and potential production capabilities. Synthetic communities bypass member-specific metabolic bottlenecks (e.g. histidine- and transport-related reactions) and compensate for lethal genetic traits, achieving up to 27% recovery from lethal knockouts. The study provides a robust modelling framework for the rational design of synthetic communities with optimized growth sustainability using phototrophic partners.

  3. ABSTRACT The central aims of many host or environmental microbiome studies are to elucidate factors associated with microbial community compositions and to relate microbial features to outcomes. However, these aims are often complicated by difficulties stemming from high-dimensionality, non-normality, sparsity, and the compositional nature of microbiome data sets. A key tool in microbiome analysis is beta diversity, defined by the distances between microbial samples. Many different distance metrics have been proposed, all with varying discriminatory power on data with differing characteristics. Here, we propose a compositional beta diversity metric rooted in a centered log-ratio transformation and matrix completion called robust Aitchison PCA. We demonstrate the benefits of compositional transformations upstream of beta diversity calculations through simulations. Additionally, we demonstrate improved effect size, classification accuracy, and robustness to sequencing depth over the current methods on several decreased sample subsets of real microbiome data sets. Finally, we highlight the ability of this new beta diversity metric to retain the feature loadings linked to sample ordinations revealing salient intercommunity niche feature importance. IMPORTANCE By accounting for the sparse compositional nature of microbiome data sets, robust Aitchison PCA can yield high discriminatory power and salient feature ranking between microbial niches. The software to performmore »this analysis is available under an open-source license and can be obtained at https://github.com/biocore/DEICODE ; additionally, a QIIME 2 plugin is provided to perform this analysis at https://library.qiime2.org/plugins/q2-deicode .« less