Andrew Tolonen

Andrew Tolonen
Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission | CEA

PhD

About

57
Publications
11,127
Reads
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3,685
Citations
Introduction
I am studying the molecular mechanisms by which microbes interact with and modify their environment. In particular, I am interested how anaerobic microbes produce value-added molecules and metabolites that influence host immunity. To this end, I develop high-throughput screening and genome engineering technologies to study and improve the phenotypes of microbial strains.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - September 2021
Kaleido Biosciences
Position
  • Group Leader
October 2016 - January 2019
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Position
  • Managing Director
January 2012 - January 2017
Genoscope - Centre National de Séquençage
Position
  • Chair

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Full-text available
Summary Microbial cellulose degradation is a central part of the global carbon cycle and has great potential for the development of inexpensive, carbon-neutral biofuels from non-food crops. Clostridium phytofermentans has a repertoire of 108 putative glycoside hydrolases to break down cellulose and hemicellulose into sugars, which this organism the...
Article
Full-text available
Bacteria respond to their environment by regulating mRNA synthesis, often by altering the genomic sites at which RNA polymerase initiates transcription. Here, we investigate genome-wide changes in transcription start site (TSS) usage by Clostridium phytofermentans, a model bacterium for fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass. We quantify expressio...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing the resistance of plant-fermenting bacteria to lignocellulosic inhibitors is useful to understand microbial adaptation and to develop candidate strains for consolidated bioprocessing. Here, we study and improve inhibitor resistance in Clostridium phytofermentans (also called Lachnoclostridium phytofermentans), a model anaerobe that ferme...
Article
Full-text available
Plant-fermenting Clostridia are anaerobic bacteria that recycle plant matter in soil and promote human health by fermenting dietary fiber in the intestine. Clostridia degrade plant biomass using extracellular enzymes and then uptake the liberated sugars for fermentation. The main sugars in plant biomass are hexoses, and here, we identify how hexose...
Article
Full-text available
Relative abundances of bacterial species in the gut microbiome have been linked to many diseases. Species of gut bacteria are ecologically differentiated by their abilities to metabolize different glycans, making glycan delivery a powerful way to alter the microbiome to promote health. Here, we study the properties and therapeutic potential of chem...
Article
Full-text available
Solventogenic clostridia have been employed in industry for more than a century, initially being used in the acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation process for acetone and butanol production. Interest in these bacteria has recently increased in the context of green chemistry and sustainable development.
Preprint
Relative abundances of bacterial species in the gut microbiome have been linked to many diseases. Species of gut bacteria are ecologically differentiated by their abilities to metabolize different glycans, making glycan delivery a powerful way to alter the microbiome to promote health. We describe the properties and therapeutic potential of chemica...
Article
Full-text available
DNA methylation is widespread amongst eukaryotes and prokaryotes to modulate gene expression and confer viral resistance. 5-Methylcytosine (m5C) methylation has been described in genomes of a large fraction of bacterial species as part of restriction-modification systems, each composed of a methyltransferase and cognate restriction enzyme. Methylas...
Preprint
Full-text available
DNA methylation is widespread amongst eukaryotes and prokaryotes to modulate gene expression and confer viral resistance. 5-methylcytosine (m5C) methylation has been described in genomes of a large fraction of bacterial species as part of restriction-modification systems, each composed of a methyltransferase and cognate restriction enzyme. Methylas...
Article
Genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic variants impacting human diseases; however, there are indications that the functional consequences of genetic polymorphisms can be distinct depending on cell type-specific contexts, which produce divergent phenotypic outcomes. Thus, the functional impact of genetic variation and the und...
Article
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Innovative processes to transform plant biomass into renewable chemicals are needed to replace fossil fuels and limit climate change. Clostridium acetobutylicum is of industrial interest because it ferments sugars into acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE). However, this organism is unable to depolymerize cellulose, limiting its use for the direct tra...
Poster
Full-text available
Catabolite repression is a significant impediment to industrial scale generation of biofuels using microbial metabolism of plant biomass. In order to overcome this limitation, we aim to generate a bacterial co-culture composed of a number of engineered organisms that have the capability to consume only select sugars. The base organism for our effor...
Article
Full-text available
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are associated with alterations in gut microbial abundances and lumenal metabolite concentrations, but the effects of specific metabolites on the gut microbiota in health and disease remain largely unknown. Here, we analysed the influences of metabolites that are differentially abundant in IBD on the growth and phy...
Article
Full-text available
Clostridia are a group of Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria of medical and industrial importance for which limited genetic methods are available. Here, we demonstrate an approach to make large genomic deletions and insertions in the model Clostridium phytofermentans by combining designed group II introns (targetrons) and Cre recombinase. We apply th...
Article
Full-text available
Phase variation, the reversible alternation between genetic states, enables infection by pathogens and colonization by commensals. However, the diversity of phase variation remains underexplored. We developed the PhaseFinder algorithm to quantify DNA inversion–mediated phase variation. A systematic search of 54,875 bacterial genomes identified 4686...
Article
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Taxonomic and functional changes to the composition of the gut microbiome have been implicated in multiple human diseases. Recent microbiome genome-wide association studies reveal that variants in many human genes involved in immunity and gut architecture are associated with an altered composition of the gut microbiome. Although many factors can af...
Article
Full-text available
Editorial summary Recent advances in genome sequencing of single microbial cells enable the assignment of functional roles to members of the human microbiome that cannot currently be cultured. This approach can reveal the genomic basis of phenotypic variation between closely related strains and can be applied to the targeted study of immunogenic ba...
Article
Full-text available
Novel processing strategies for hydrolysis and fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass in a single reactor offer large potential cost savings for production of biocommodities and biofuels. One critical challenge is retaining high enzyme production in the presence of elevated product titers. Toward this goal, the cellulolytic, ethanol-producing bact...
Article
Full-text available
Clostridium phytofermentans was isolated from forest soil and is distinguished by its capacity to directly ferment plant cell wall polysaccharides into ethanol as the primary product, suggesting that it possesses unusual catabolic pathways. The objective of the present study was to understand the molecular mechanisms of biomass conversion to ethano...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial metabolism of plant polysaccharides is an important part of environmental carbon cycling, human nutrition, and industrial processes based on cellulosic bioconversion. Here we demonstrate a broadly applicable method to analyze how microbes catabolize plant polysaccharides that integrates carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZyme) assays, RNA sequ...
Article
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Stable isotope labeling of peptides by reductive dimethylation (ReDi labeling) is a method to accurately quantify protein expression differences between samples using mass spectrometry. ReDi labeling is performed using either regular (light) or deuterated (heavy) forms of formaldehyde and sodium cyanoborohydride to add two methyl groups to each fre...
Article
Full-text available
Recycling of plant biomass by a community of bacteria and fungi is fundamental to carbon flow in terrestrial ecosystems. Here we report how the plant fermenting, soil bacterium Clostridium phytofermentans enhances growth on cellulose by simultaneously lysing and consuming model fungi from soil. We investigate the mechanism of fungal lysis to show t...
Book
Full-text available
7.1 Introduction Dwindling oil reserves and climate change have made the development of renewable, carbon-balanced energy resources a global necessity. As cellulosic biomass is the world's most abundant biological energy source, 1 fermentation of inedible, cellulosic feedstocks such as prairie grasses, corn stover, wood chips and agricultural waste...
Technical Report
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BBF RFC 92 proposes a new standard assembly method for the Parts Registry. The method makes one-shot cloning of a complete eukaryotic or prokaryotic cassette possible in one day while keeping compatibility with the BBF RFC 10 BioBrick assembly standard.
Article
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We present genome engineering technologies that are capable of fundamentally reengineering genomes from the nucleotide to the megabase scale. We used multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE) to site-specifically replace all 314 TAG stop codons with synonymous TAA codons in parallel across 32 Escherichia coli strains. This approach allowed us t...
Data
Supplementary information, Supplementary figures S1–15, Supplementary tables SI–VIII
Article
Full-text available
Fermentation of plant biomass by microbes like Clostridium phytofermentans recycles carbon globally and can make biofuels from inedible feedstocks. We analyzed C. phytofermentans fermenting cellulosic substrates by integrating quantitative mass spectrometry of more than 2500 proteins with measurements of growth, enzyme activities, fermentation prod...
Article
Full-text available
Prochlorococcus, a unicellular cyanobacterium, is the most abundant phytoplankton in the oligotrophic, oceanic gyres where major plant nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are at nanomolar concentrations. Nitrogen availability controls primary productivity in many of these regions. The cellular mechanisms that Prochlorococcus uses to a...
Data
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Distribution of genome lengths for several cyanobacterial genomes.
Data
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Schematic representation of the phosphate transport gene cluster.
Data
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Distribution of the intergenic distances in cyanobacterial and other bacterial genomes.
Data
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Putative methylases and methyltransferases in the genome of Mic-PCC7806.
Data
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Occurrence of the putative dnd gene products in cyanobacteria.
Data
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Fermentation pathway adapted from Moezelaar and Stal [34].
Data
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Genes of the circadian clock system.
Data
Representation of the location of the genes of Mic-PCC7806-contig328 on the genome of Mic-NIES843.
Data
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Similarity of orthologous genes between Mic-PCC7806, Cwa-WH8501 and Syn-PCC6803.
Data
Identity of the 1% 6-mers that were least common in the genome of Mic-PCC7806.
Data
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Putative restriction endonucleases in the genome of Mic-PCC7806.
Data
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Alignment of the amino acid sequences of the putative caspases from Mic-PCC7806, Mic-NIES843 and a metacaspase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Article
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The colonial cyanobacterium Microcystis proliferates in a wide range of freshwater ecosystems and is exposed to changing environmental factors during its life cycle. Microcystis blooms are often toxic, potentially fatal to animals and humans, and may cause environmental problems. There has been little investigation of the genomics of these cyanobac...
Article
Full-text available
Prochlorococcus is the smallest oxygenic phototroph yet described. It numerically dominates the phytoplankton community in the mid-latitude oceanic gyres, where it has an important role in the global carbon cycle. The complete genomes of several Prochlorococcus strains have been sequenced, revealing that nearly half of the genes in each genome are...
Article
Full-text available
Nitrogen (N) often limits biological productivity in the oceanic gyres where Prochlorococcus is the most abundant photosynthetic organism. The Prochlorococcus community is composed of strains, such as MED4 and MIT9313, that have different N utilization capabilities and that belong to ecotypes with different depth distributions. An interstrain compa...
Article
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Comparative genomics gives us a new window into phage-host interactions and their evolutionary implications. Here we report the presence of genes central to oxygenic photosynthesis in the genomes of three phages from two viral families (Myoviridae and Podoviridae) that infect the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. The genes that encode the phot...
Article
Full-text available
The marine unicellular cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus is the smallest-known oxygen-evolving autotroph. It numerically dominates the phytoplankton in the tropical and subtropical oceans, and is responsible for a significant fraction of global photosynthesis. Here we compare the genomes of two Prochlorococcus strains that span the largest evolutionar...
Article
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Signaling from the DAF-2/insulin receptor to the DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor controls longevity, metabolism, and development in disparate phyla. To identify genes that mediate the conserved biological outputs of daf-2/insulin-like signaling, we used comparative genomics to identify 17 orthologous genes from Caenorhabditis and Drosophila, each...
Article
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Oligonucleotide arrays are powerful tools to study changes in gene expression for whole genomes. These arrays can be synthesized by adapting photolithographic techniques used in microelectronics. Using this method, oligonucleotides are built base by base directly on the array surface by numerous cycles of photodeprotection and nucleotide addition....

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