Short- and Long-Term Biomarkers for Bacterial Robustness: A Framework for Quantifying Correlations between Cellular Indicators and Adaptive Behavior

H.M.W. den Besten, A. Arvind, H.M.S. Gaballo, R. Moezelaar, M.H. Zwietering, T. Abee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability of microorganisms to adapt to changing environments challenges the prediction of their history-dependent behavior. Cellular biomarkers that are quantitatively correlated to stress adaptive behavior will facilitate our ability to predict the impact of these adaptive traits. Here, we present a framework for identifying cellular biomarkers for mild stress induced enhanced microbial robustness towards lethal stresses. Several candidate-biomarkers were selected by comparing the genome-wide transcriptome profiles of our model-organism Bacillus cereus upon exposure to four mild stress conditions (mild heat, acid, salt and oxidative stress). These candidate-biomarkers—a transcriptional regulator (activating general stress responses), enzymes (removing reactive oxygen species), and chaperones and proteases (maintaining protein quality)—were quantitatively determined at transcript, protein and/or activity level upon exposure to mild heat, acid, salt and oxidative stress for various time intervals. Both unstressed and mild stress treated cells were also exposed to lethal stress conditions (severe heat, acid and oxidative stress) to quantify the robustness advantage provided by mild stress pretreatment. To evaluate whether the candidate-biomarkers could predict the robustness enhancement towards lethal stress elicited by mild stress pretreatment, the biomarker responses upon mild stress treatment were correlated to mild stress induced robustness towards lethal stress. Both short- and long-term biomarkers could be identified of which their induction levels were correlated to mild stress induced enhanced robustness towards lethal heat, acid and/or oxidative stress, respectively, and are therefore predictive cellular indicators for mild stress induced enhanced robustness. The identified biomarkers are among the most consistently induced cellular components in stress responses and ubiquitous in biology, supporting extrapolation to other microorganisms than B. cereus. Our quantitative, systematic approach provides a framework to search for these biomarkers and to evaluate their predictive quality in order to select promising biomarkers that can serve to early detect and predict adaptive traits.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13746
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume5
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • gram-positive bacteria
  • general stress-response
  • bacillus-cereus atcc-14579
  • listeria-monocytogenes
  • hydrogen-peroxide
  • environmental-changes
  • staphylococcus-aureus
  • food preservation
  • sigma(b) regulon
  • salt stress

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