Interspecies Electron Transfer via Hydrogen and Formate Rather than Direct Electrical Connections in Cocultures of Pelobacter carbinolicus and Geobacter sulfurreducens.

Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.95). 08/2012; 78(21):7645-51. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01946-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) is an alternative to interspecies H(2)/formate transfer as a mechanism for microbial species to cooperatively exchange electrons during syntrophic metabolism. To understand what specific properties contribute to DIET, studies were conducted with Pelobacter carbinolicus, a close relative of Geobacter metallireducens, which is capable of DIET. P. carbinolicus grew in coculture with Geobacter sulfurreducens with ethanol as the electron donor and fumarate as the electron acceptor, conditions under which G. sulfurreducens formed direct electrical connections with G. metallireducens. In contrast to the cell aggregation associated with DIET, P. carbinolicus and G. sulfurreducens did not aggregate. Attempts to initiate cocultures with a genetically modified strain of G. sulfurreducens incapable of both H(2) and formate utilization were unsuccessful, whereas cocultures readily grew with mutant strains capable of formate but not H(2) uptake or vice versa. The hydrogenase mutant of G. sulfurreducens compensated, in cocultures, with significantly increased formate dehydrogenase gene expression. In contrast, the transcript abundance of a hydrogenase gene was comparable in cocultures with that for the formate dehydrogenase mutant of G. sulfurreducens or the wild type, suggesting that H(2) was the primary electron carrier in the wild-type cocultures. Cocultures were also initiated with strains of G. sulfurreducens that could not produce pili or OmcS, two essential components for DIET. The finding that P. carbinolicus exchanged electrons with G. sulfurreducens via interspecies transfer of H(2)/formate rather than DIET demonstrates that not all microorganisms that can grow syntrophically are capable of DIET and that closely related microorganisms may use significantly different strategies for interspecies electron exchange.


Available from: Amelia-Elena Rotaru, Jun 06, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms by which microbial species exchange electrons are of interest because interspecies electron transfer can expand the metabolic capabilities of microbial communities. Previous studies with the humic substance analog anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) suggested that quinone-mediated interspecies electron transfer (QUIET) is feasible, but it was not determined if sufficient energy is available from QUIET to support the growth of both species. Furthermore, there have been no previous studies on the mechanisms for the oxidation of anthrahydroquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AHQDS). A co-culture of Geobacter metallireducens and G. sulfurreducens metabolized ethanol with the reduction of fumarate much faster in the presence of AQDS, and there was an increase in cell protein. G. sulfurreducens was more abundant, consistent with G. sulfurreducens obtaining electrons from acetate that G. metallireducens produced from ethanol, as well as from AHQDS. Co-cultures initiated with a citrate synthase-deficient strain of G. sulfurreducens that was unable to use acetate as an electron donor also metabolized ethanol with the reduction of fumarate and cell growth, but acetate accumulated over time. G. sulfurreducens and G. metallireducens were equally abundant in these co-cultures reflecting the inability of the citrate synthase-deficient strain of G. sulfurreducens to metabolize acetate. Evaluation of the mechanisms by which G. sulfurreducens accepts electrons from AHQDS demonstrated that a strain deficient in outer-surface c-type cytochromes that are required for AQDS reduction was as effective at QUIET as the wild-type strain. Deletion of additional genes previously implicated in extracellular electron transfer also had no impact on QUIET. These results demonstrate that QUIET can yield sufficient energy to support the growth of both syntrophic partners, but that the mechanisms by which electrons are derived from extracellular hydroquinones require further investigation.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 02/2015; 6:121. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00121 · 3.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microbial conversion of carbon dioxide to organic commodities via syngas metabolism or microbial electrosynthesis is an attractive option for production of renewable biocommodities. The recent development of an initial genetic toolbox for the acetogen Clostridium ljungdahlii has suggested that C. ljungdahlii may be an effective chassis for such conversions. This possibility was evaluated by engineering a strain to produce butyrate, a valuable commodity that is not a natural product of C. ljungdahlii metabolism. Heterologous genes required for butyrate production from acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) were identified and introduced initially on plasmids and in subsequent strain designs integrated into the C. ljungdahlii chromosome. Iterative strain designs involved increasing translation of a key enzyme by modifying a ribosome binding site, inactivating the gene encoding the first step in the conversion of acetyl-CoA to acetate, disrupting the gene which encodes the primary bifunctional aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenase for ethanol production, and interrupting the gene for a CoA transferase that potentially represented an alternative route for the production of acetate. These modifications yielded a strain in which ca. 50 or 70% of the carbon and electron flow was diverted to the production of butyrate with H2 or CO as the electron donor, respectively. These results demonstrate the possibility of producing high-value commodities from carbon dioxide with C. ljungdahlii as the catalyst.
    mBio 08/2014; 5(5). DOI:10.1128/mBio.01636-14 · 6.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the possibility that the electrical conductivity of carbon cloth accelerates direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) in co-cultures. Carbon cloth accelerated metabolism of DIET co-cultures (Geobacter metallireducens - Geobacter sulfurreducens and Geobacter metallireducens - Methanosarcina barkeri) but did not promote metabolism of co-cultures performing interspecies H2 transfer (Desulfovibrio vulgaris – Geobacter sulfurreducens). On the other hand, DIET co-cultures were not stimulated by poorly conductive cotton cloth. Mutant strains lacking electrically conductive pili, or pili-associated cytochromes participated in DIET only in the presence of carbon cloth. In co-cultures promoted by carbon cloth, cells were primarily associated with the cloth although the syntrophic partners were far apart for cell-to-cell biological electrical connections to be feasible. Carbon cloth seemingly mediated interspecies electron transfer between the distant syntrophic partners. These results suggest that the ability of carbon cloth to accelerate DIET should be considered in anaerobic digester designs that incorporate carbon cloth.
    Bioresource Technology 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2014.09.009 · 5.04 Impact Factor