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Proteomics. 2012 Jun;12(12):1893-901. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201100362.

Proteomic tracking and analysis of a bacterial mixed culture.

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Otto-von-Guericke University, Bioprocess Engineering, Magdeburg, Germany.


To improve the understanding of microbial behaviors in communities, proteomic tracking, an approach for relative quantification of species-specific population dynamics of mixed cultures, was developed. Therefore, a bacterial mixed culture was analyzed during batch cultivations with and without addition of the antibiotic Ceftazidime. The community was composed of Burkholderia cepacia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus, pathogens causing infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Gel-based proteomics and mass spectrometry were used to obtain qualitative and quantitative proteomic data. During cultivation, P. aeruginosa became dominant within the mixed culture while S. aureus was inhibited in growth. Analysis of samples - taken along cultivation - revealed about 270 differentially expressed proteins. Some of those proteins are related to bacterial interactions, response to antibiotic treatment or metabolic shifts. For instance, the enzymes PhzS(flavin-containing monooxygenase), PhzD (phenazine biosynthesis protein), and PhzG2 (pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate oxidase) indicated the production of the antibiotic pigment pyocyanine by P. aeruginosa that is related to oxidative stress and therefore, might inhibit growth of S. aureus. Overall, the strategy applied not only allows species-specific tracking of the community composition but also provides valuable insights into the behavior of mixed cultures.

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