Proteogenomic monitoring of Geobacter physiology during stimulated uranium bioremediation

Michael J. Wilkins, Nathan C. VerBerkmoes, Kenneth H. Williams, Stephen J. Callister, Paula J. Mouser, Hila Elifantz, A. Lucie N'Guessan, Brian C. Thomas, Carrie D. Nicora, Manesh B. Shah, Paul Abraham, Mary S. Lipton, Derek R. Lovley, Robert L. Hettich, Philip E. Long, Jillian F. Banfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Implementation of uranium bioremediation requires methods for monitoring the membership and activities of the subsurface microbial communities that are responsible for reduction of soluble U(VI) to insoluble U(IV). Here, we report a proteomics-based approach for simultaneously documenting the strain membership and microbial physiology of the dominant Geobacter community members during in situ acetate amendment of the U-contaminated Rifle, CO, aquifer. Three planktonic Geobacter-dominated samples were obtained from two wells down-gradient of acetate addition. Over 2,500 proteins from each of these samples were identified by matching liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry spectra to peptides predicted from seven isolate Geobacter genomes. Genome-specific peptides indicate early proliferation of multiple M21 and Geobacter bemidjiensis-like strains and later possible emergence of M21 and G. bemidjiensis-like strains more closely related to Geobacter lovleyi. Throughout biostimulation, the proteome is dominated by enzymes that convert acetate to acetyl-coenzyme A and pyruvate for central metabolism, while abundant peptides matching tricarboxylic acid cycle proteins and ATP synthase subunits were also detected, indicating the importance of energy generation during the period of rapid growth following the start of biostimulation. Evolving Geobacter strain composition may be linked to changes in protein abundance over the course of biostimulation and may reflect changes in metabolic functioning. Thus, metagenomics-independent community proteogenomics can be used to diagnose the status of the subsurface consortia upon which remediation biotechnology relies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6591-6599
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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