Fluctuating environments and extinction

Fluctuating environments and extinction

Mechanisms driving and rescuing microbial extinctions in fluctuating resource environments

There are many theories regarding why certain network topologies are necessary for generating specific environmental response dynamics, the rapidity with which regulatory networks evolve, and the impact of gene regulation on fitness. Testing the underlying hypotheses will require an integrated and coordinated systems biology approach to simultaneously infer the architecture of regulatory networks associated with relevant environmental responses of interacting organisms, analyze consequences of perturbing architecture of these networks, and track evolution of these networks during co-evolution or adaptation to a new environment

We are investigating the structure and evolution of gene regulatory networks that govern physiological responses of individual and interacting organisms in a synthetically established syntrophic pairing between a sulfate reducing bacterium, Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough (DvH) and a methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis (Mmp).

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Adaptive Prediction Emergence in Microbial Populations

Adaptive Prediction Emergence in Microbial Populations

The structure and predictability of coupled environmental factor changes has shaped the evolution of all organisms. Indeed, microorganisms have taken advantage of sequentially coupled changes in two or more environmental factors to evolve adaptive prediction as a strategy to improve fitness. Continue reading

Preserving Anerobic Cells During Sorting

Preserving Anerobic Cells During Sorting

How Regulatory Genetic Diversity Drives Cellular Physiology

Anaerobic microorganisms are major components in numerous environments ranging from naturally-occurring subsurface ground waters, anaerobic hydrocarbon deposits, and anoxic waters and sediments to man-made environments such as wastewater treatment plants and anaerobic digesters. Defining the community structure and the functional ecology of these microbial communities is a key component of research campaigns within the ENIGMA project. Flow cytometry is a powerful tool for high-throughput single cell analysis and sorting of targeted individual cells or populations, however preserving the viability of anaerobic cells during cell sorting has remained a challenge. We are developing a technology, called Live Anaerobic Cell Sorting (LAnCS), to address this challenge. Modifications made to the BD Influx high-speed cell sorter create an enclosed path cell sorter that is capable of maintaining an anoxic environment from sample to sort collection tube. We tested LAnCS on a synthetic anaerobic community composed of two organisms and demonstrate that LAnCS was successful in preserving the viability of both members of this anaerobic community, Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough (DvH) and Methanococcus maripaludis (Mmp), by growing colonies from single-cell sorts of both organisms on agar plates.