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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2809. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3809.

Characterization and modelling of interspecies electron transfer mechanisms and microbial community dynamics of a syntrophic association.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0412, USA.


Syntrophic associations are central to microbial communities and thus have a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle. Despite biochemical approaches describing the physiological activity of these communities, there has been a lack of a mechanistic understanding of the relationship between complex nutritional and energetic dependencies and their functioning. Here we apply a multi-omic modelling workflow that combines genomic, transcriptomic and physiological data with genome-scale models to investigate dynamics and electron flow mechanisms in the syntrophic association of Geobacter metallireducens and Geobacter sulfurreducens. Genome-scale modelling of direct interspecies electron transfer reveals insights into the energetics of electron transfer mechanisms. While G. sulfurreducens adapts to rapid syntrophic growth by changes at the genomic and transcriptomic level, G. metallireducens responds only at the transcriptomic level. This multi-omic approach enhances our understanding of adaptive responses and factors that shape the evolution of syntrophic communities.

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