Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 478 Views Nov 20, 2022

The study of haloarchaea provides an opportunity to expand understanding of the mechanisms used by extremophiles to thrive in and respond to harsh environments, including hypersaline and oxidative stress conditions. A common strategy used to investigate molecular mechanisms of stress response involves the deletion and/or site-directed mutagenesis of genes identified through omics studies followed by a comparison of the mutant and wild-type strains for phenotypic differences. The experimental methods used to monitor these differences must be controlled and reproducible. Current methods to examine recovery of halophilic archaea from extreme stress are complicated by extended incubation times, nutrients not typically encountered in the environment, and other related limitations. Here we describe a method for assessing the function of genes during hypochlorite stress in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii that overcomes these types of limitations. The method was found reproducible and informative in identifying genes needed for H. volcanii to recover from hypochlorite stress.

0 Q&A 1486 Views May 20, 2022

Cyanobacteria are Gram-negative oxygen-producing photosynthetic bacteria that are useful in the pharmaceutical and biofuel industries. Monitoring of oxidative stress under fluctuating environmental conditions is important for determining the fitness, survival, and growth of cyanobacteria in the laboratory as well as in large scale cultivation systems. Here, we provide a protocol developed using unicellular Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 and filamentous Fremyella diplosiphon BK14 cyanobacteria for high-throughput oxidative stress measurement by 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA) and flow cytometry (FCM). We also provide details for the optimization of cell number, dye concentration, and FCM parameters for each organism before it can be utilized to quantify reactive oxygen species (ROS). FCM-based method can be used to measure ROS in a large population of cyanobacterial cells in a high-throughput manner.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 1109 Views Mar 20, 2022

Several filamentous cyanobacteria like Nostoc differentiate specialized cells in response to changes in environmental factors, such as low light or nutrient starvation. These specialized cells are termed heterocysts and akinetes. Under conditions of nitrogen limitation, nitrogen-fixing heterocysts form in a semi-regular pattern and provide the filament with organic nitrogen compounds. Akinetes are spore-like dormant cells, which allow survival during adverse unfavorable conditions. Both cell types possess multilayered thick envelopes mainly composed of an outermost polysaccharide layer and inner layers of glycolipids, that are important for stress adaptation. To study these envelope glycolipids, a method for the isolation, separation and analysis of lipids from heterocysts and akinetes is essential. The present protocol describes a method involving the extraction of lipids from cyanobacteria using solvents and their separation and visualization on silica plates, to render analysis simple and easy. This protocol is relevant for studying mutants that are defective in glycolipid layer formation and for the comparison of glycolipid composition of heterocysts and akinetes under different environmental stresses.

0 Q&A 1455 Views Jan 20, 2022

Light is a double-edged sword: it is essential for life on the planet but also causes cellular damage and death. Consequently, organisms have evolved systems not only for harvesting and converting light energy into chemical energy but also for countering its toxic effects. Despite the omnipresence and importance of such light-dependent effects, there are very few unbiased genetic screens, if any, investigating the mechanistic consequences that visible light has on cells. Baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the best annotated organisms thanks to several easily available mutant collections and its amenability to high-throughput genetic screening. However, until recently this yeast was thought to lack receptors for visible light, therefore its response to visible light was poorly understood. Nevertheless, a couple of years ago it was discovered that yeast senses light via a novel and unconventional pathway involving a peroxisomal oxidase, hydrogen peroxide, and a particular type of antioxidant protein, called peroxiredoxin. Here, we describe in detail a protocol for scoring yeast genes involved in the resistance to visible light (400-700 nm) on a genome-wide scale. Because cells in dense cultures shield each other from light exposure, resulting in apparent light resistance, our method involves adaptations to reduce inoculum size under conditions amenable to high-throughput screens, to properly be able to identify light-sensitive mutants. We also describe how to measure growth in the presence of light, including two follow-up validation tests. In this way, this method makes it possible to score light-sensitivity on a genome-wide scale with high confidence.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of strategy for high-throughput determination of yeast growth upon visible light stress.

0 Q&A 1584 Views Nov 5, 2021

Flavodoxin-like proteins (Fld-LPs) are an important constituent of the oxidative stress defense system in several organisms and highly conserved from bacteria to humans. These proteins possess NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase activity and convert quinones to hydroquinones through two-electron reduction, using NAD(P)H and quinone as electron donor and acceptor, respectively. Purified yeast and bacterial Fld-LPs exhibit NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase activity in vitro. Here, we describe a protocol to measure oxidoreductase activity of Fld-LPs that are present in extracts of whole cells. We have recently shown that the assembly and activity of a Fld-LP, CgPst2, is regulated by an aspartyl protease-mediated cleavage of its C-terminus in the pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata. Mutant yeast where the CgPST2 gene was deleted lacked cellular NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase activity and displayed elevated susceptibility to menadione stress. The protocol described herein is based on the measurement of NADH oxidation (conversion of NADH to NAD+) by endogenous Fld-LPs in the presence of quinone menadione. This assay can be performed with whole cell lysates prepared by the mechanical lysis of C. glabrata cells and does not require expression and purification of Fld-LPs from a heterogeneous system, thereby allowing researchers to study the effect of different posttranslational modifications and varied structural states of Fld-LPs on their enzymatic activities. Since many FLP-LPs are known to exist in dimeric and tetrameric states possessing differential activities, our efficient and easy-to-use assay can reliably detect and validate their quinone reductase activities. Although we have used menadione with CgPst2 enzyme in our study, the protocol can easily be modified to examine the presence of Fld-LPs with specificity for other quinones. As this assay does not require many expensive chemicals, it can readily be scaled up and adapted for other medically important fungi and potentially be a useful tool to characterize fungal oxidative stress response systems and screen inhibitors specific for fungal Fld-LPs, thereby contributing to our understanding of fungal pathogenesis mechanisms.

0 Q&A 1451 Views Nov 5, 2021

Fungal metallo-tolerance has been described in different species and plays an important role in bioremediation of contaminated environments. Metallo-tolerance is mainly documented by microdilution assays and agar well diffusion methods using equipment that can be expensive. The tolerance index can be calculated to determine the efficiency of a fungus to degrade and resist heavy metals. The present protocol is based on analyzing the tolerance index and minimum inhibitory concentration of the metallo-tolerance potential of culturable fungi on solid media. This can be calculated by daily measurements of colony size on agar supplemented with different concentrations of heavy metals. This method is an easy approach to determine fungal heavy metal resistance using simple laboratory equipment without spectroscopy.

0 Q&A 1538 Views Oct 20, 2021

Phototrophic microorganisms are frequently engineered to regulate the expression and the activity of targeted enzymes of interest for specific biotechnological and agricultural applications. This protocol describes a method to evaluate the expression of RuBisCO (ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase) in the model cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, at both the transcript and protein levels by quantitative PCR and Western blot, respectively. We further describe an experimental method to determine photosynthetic activity using an oxygen electrode that measures the rate of molecular oxygen production by cyanobacterial cultures. Our protocol can be utilized to assess the effects of RuBisCO engineering at the metabolic and physiological levels.

0 Q&A 1522 Views Sep 20, 2021

Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is a leading causative pathogen for food-borne gastroenteritis. During its course of infection, it confronts myriads of physiological barriers inside the host, such as nutrient deprivation, low micronutrient availability, and toxicity from bile salts, to promote bacterial survival and infection inside the host. The ability of the pathogen to overcome these stressful conditions determines the degree of virulence in the host. Therefore, assessment of the survival of a pathogen during different stress conditions, like glucose starvation, magnesium starvation, and bile stress, are important parameters to assess the virulence of the pathogen. Here, we describe protocols for estimating the survival of the pathogen during the above-mentioned stress conditions. We culture S. Enteritidis in an appropriate growth medium to a required O.D.600 and treat it with glucose starvation (M9 minimal culture medium containing 0.03% glucose), magnesium starvation (M9 minimal culture medium containing 20 µM MgSO4), and bile stress (bacterial cells treated with 15% bile salts in Luria Bertani (LB) culture medium) conditions. The number of surviving bacteria is obtained after the treatment by calculating the colony-forming units (CFU) of the surviving pathogen obtained on LB agar plates at relevant time intervals. The experiments are performed in biological replicates, and statistical analysis is performed to validate the experimental findings. The methodology of these stress response assays is simple and can be adapted to study the pathogenesis and stress response in other relevant and culturable enteric pathogens.

0 Q&A 1506 Views Aug 20, 2021

Lipid membranes are essential cellular elements as they provide cellular integrity and selective permeability under a broad range of environmental settings upon cell growth. In particular, Archaea are commonly recognized for their tolerance to extreme conditions, which is now widely accepted to stem from the unique structure of their lipids. While enhancing the stability of the archaeal cell membrane, the exceptional properties of archaeal lipids also hinder their extraction using regular procedures initially developed for bacterial and eukaryotic lipids. The protocol described here circumvents these issues by directly hydrolyzing the polar head group(s) of archaeal lipids and extracting the resulting core lipids. Although leading to a loss of information on the nature of polar heads, this procedure allows the quantitative extraction of core lipids for most types of archaeal cells in an efficient, reproducible, and rapid manner.

0 Q&A 1898 Views Aug 5, 2021

Microbial rhodopsins have diverse functions, including roles as light-driven ion pumps, light-gated ion channels, photosensors, and light-regulated enzymes. As the number of rhodopsin-like genes identified has increased in recent years, so has the requirement for rapid identification of their functions. The patch-clamp method is often used to investigate the ion transport mechanism of microbial rhodopsins in mammalian cells; however, this requires a dedicated system and advanced techniques. The ion transport assay using the Escherichia coli expression system described here evaluates the ion transport capacity by monitoring the pH change in E. coli suspensions; if the target rhodopsin has a light-dependent ion transport activity, a light-dependent pH change is observed. The pH increase or decrease corresponds to proton release from the cell or proton uptake into the cell, respectively. This method can be used to evaluate ion transport capacity in a high-throughput manner using a combination of general-purpose equipment and common techniques.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic diagram of the ion transport assay in rhodopsin-expressing E. coli cells.

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