Catabolic and anabolic processes are finely coordinated in microorganisms to provide optimized fitness under varying environmental conditions. Understanding this coordination and the resulting physiological traits reveals fundamental strategies of microbial acclimation. Here, we characterized the system-level physiology of Methanococcus maripaludis, a niche-specialized methanogenic archaeon, at different dilution rates ranging from 0.09 to 0.003 h−1 in chemostat experiments under phosphate (i.e., anabolic) limitation. Phosphate was supplied as the limiting nutrient, while formate was supplied in excess as the catabolic substrate and carbon source. We observed a decoupling of catabolism and anabolism resulting in lower biomass yield relative to catabolically limited cells at the same dilution rates. In addition, the mass abundance of several coarse-grained proteome sectors (i.e., combined abundance of proteins grouped based on their function) exhibited a linear relationship with growth rate, mostly ribosomes and their biogenesis. Accordingly, cellular RNA content also correlated with growth rate. Although the methanogenesis proteome sector was invariant, the metabolic capacity for methanogenesis, measured as methane production rates immediately after transfer to batch culture, correlated with growth rate suggesting translationally independent regulation that allows cells to only increase catabolic activity under growth-permissible conditions. These observations are in stark contrast to the physiology of M. maripaludis under formate (i.e., catabolic) limitation, where cells keep an invariant proteome including ribosomal content and a high methanogenesis capacity across a wide range of growth rates. Our findings reveal that M. maripaludis employs fundamentally different strategies to coordinate global physiology during anabolic phosphate and catabolic formate limitation.
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The mass spectrometry proteomics data are available in the MassIVE database (https://massive.ucsd.edu) under accession number MSV000087621.
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We thank Dr. Vadim Patsalo for recording and analyzing the proteomic mass spectrometry data. This work is supported by grants from the US Army Research Office (W911NF2010111 to AMS) and National Science Foundation/University of Southern California, Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (OCE-0939564), and a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R35-GM136412 to JRW).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Gu, W., Müller, A.L., Deutzmann, J.S. et al. Growth rate-dependent coordination of catabolism and anabolism in the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis under phosphate limitation. ISME J 16, 2313–2319 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-022-01278-9