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ISME J. 2012 Jan;6(1):124-35. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2011.86. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Proteomic insights into the lifestyle of an environmentally relevant marine bacterium.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie des Systèmes Perturbès, CEA Marcoule, DSV, IBEB, Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France.


In terms of lifestyle, free-living bacteria are classified as either oligotrophic/specialist or opportunist/generalist. Heterogeneous marine environments such as coastal waters favour the establishment of marine generalist bacteria, which code for a large pool of functions. This is basically foreseen to cope with the heterogeneity of organic matter supplied to these systems. Nevertheless, it is not known what fraction of a generalist proteome is needed for house-keeping functions or what fraction is modified to cope with environmental changes. Here, we used high-throughput proteomics to define the proteome of Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3, a model marine generalist bacterium of the Roseobacter clade. We evaluated its genome expression under several natural environmental conditions, revealing the versatility of the bacterium to adapt to anthropogenic influence, poor nutrient concentrations or the presence of the natural microbial community. We also assayed 30 different laboratory incubations to increase proteome coverage and to dig further into the functional genomics of the bacterium. We established its core proteome and the proteome devoted to adaptation to general cellular physiological variations (almost 50%). We suggest that the other half of its theoretical proteome is the opportunist genetic pool devoted exclusively to very specific environmental conditions.

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