Microbiology


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0 Q&A 745 Views Jun 5, 2023

Gene deletion is one of the standard approaches in genetics to investigate the roles and functions of target genes. However, the influence of gene deletion on cellular phenotypes is usually analyzed sometime after the gene deletion was introduced. Such lags from gene deletion to phenotype evaluation could select only the fittest fraction of gene-deleted cells and hinder the detection of potentially diverse phenotypic consequences. Therefore, dynamic aspects of gene deletion, such as real-time propagation and compensation of deletion effects on cellular phenotypes, still need to be explored. To resolve this issue, we have recently introduced a new method that combines a photoactivatable Cre recombination system and microfluidic single-cell observation. This method enables us to induce gene deletion at desired timings in single bacterial cells and to monitor their dynamics for prolonged periods. Here, we detail the protocol for estimating the fractions of gene-deleted cells based on a batch-culture assay. The duration of blue light exposure significantly affects the fractions of gene-deleted cells. Therefore, gene-deleted and non-deleted cells can coexist in a cellular population by adjusting the duration of blue light exposure. Single-cell observations under such illumination conditions allow the comparison of temporal dynamics between gene-deleted and non-deleted cells and unravel phenotypic dynamics provoked by gene deletion.

0 Q&A 1202 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 1579 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 3054 Views May 20, 2021

Antimicrobial-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes over 200,000 deaths globally each year. Current assays of antimicrobial resistance require knowledge of the mutations that confer drug resistance or long periods of culture time to test growth under drug pressure. We present ODELAM (One-cell Doubling Evaluation of Living Arrays of Mycobacterium), a time-lapse microscopy-based method that observes individual cells growing into microcolonies. This protocol describes sample and media preparation and contains instructions for assembling the ODELAM sample chamber. The ODELAM sample chamber is designed to provide a controlled environment to safely observe the growth of Mtb by time-lapse microscopy on an inverted wide-field microscope. A brief description of the ODELAM software is also provided here. ODELAM tracks up to 1500 colony forming units per region of interest and can observe up to 96 regions for up to seven days in a single experiment. This technique allows the quantification of population heterogeneity. ODELAM enables rapid quantitative measurements of growth kinetics in as few as 30 h under a wide variety of environmental conditions.


Graphic abstract:



Schematic representation of the ODELAM platform


0 Q&A 3859 Views May 5, 2021

Siderophores, a key substance that microorganisms produce to obtain iron under iron-limited conditions, play an important role in regulating interactions between beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria. A large number of bacteria were isolated from the rhizosphere, and we used the method presented here to assay the siderophore production by these rhizosphere bacteria. This method is a modified version of the universal chrome azurol S (CAS) assay that uses a 96-channel manual pipetting workstation. By combining the liquid CAS assay with the multi-channel pipette workstation, high-throughput and rapid detection of siderophore production can be achieved. In summary, this method can be used to gain a general understanding of siderophore production by rhizosphere bacteria.

0 Q&A 2102 Views Dec 5, 2020
Transfer RNA (tRNA) is an essential link between the genetic code and proteins. During the process of translation, tRNA is charged with its cognate amino acid and delivers it to the ribosome, thus serving as a substrate of protein synthesis. To analyze the charging state of a particular tRNA, total RNA is purified and analyzed on an acid-urea gel. Separated RNA is then transferred to a membrane and detected with a probe for the tRNA of interest. Here, we present an improved protocol to analyze the tRNA charging state in the α-proteobacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris. Compared to the classical method, the RNA isolation step is optimized to suit this organism. Additionally, a non-radioactive platform is used for electrophoresis and Northern blots. This significantly reduces the time and the effort required for this protocol.
0 Q&A 2165 Views Dec 5, 2020
Ribosomes are an integral part of cellular life. They are complex molecular machines consisting of multiple ribosomal proteins and RNAs. To study different aspects of ribosome composition, many methods have been developed over the decades. Here, we describe how to purify ribosomes from the α-proteobacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris. Following this protocol, RNA can be extracted from either purified ribosomes or directly from cell cultures, and ribosomal RNAs quantified using Northern blot. This protocol gives an example of studying ribosomes in a bacterium other than the commonly used E. coli. The challenge of performing Northern blots with rRNA is also addressed in detail.
0 Q&A 5138 Views Apr 20, 2018
Most of the cyanobacteria accumulate osmolytes including sucrose, glucosylglycerol, in their cells in response to salt stress. Here we describe a protocol of our laboratory for extraction and quantification of cyanobacterial intracellular sucrose and glucosylglycerol. We have confirmed this protocol was applicable to at least four kinds of cyanobacteria, filamentous cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 and halotolerant unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
0 Q&A 7714 Views Jul 20, 2017
E. coli resides in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals but recent studies have shown that E. coli can persist and grow in various external environments including soil. The general stress response regulator, RpoS, helps E. coli overcome various stresses, however its role in soil survival was unknown. This soil survival assay protocol was developed and used to determine the role of the general stress response regulator, RpoS, in the survival of E. coli in soil. Using this soil survival assay, we demonstrated that RpoS was important for the survival of E. coli in soil. This protocol describes the development of the soil survival assay especially the recovery of E. coli inoculated into soil and can be adapted to allow further investigations into the survival of other bacteria in soil.
0 Q&A 8419 Views Feb 5, 2017
Low-pH microbial Fe(II) oxidation occurs naturally in some Fe(II)-rich acid mine drainage (AMD) ecosystems across so-called terraced iron formations. Indigenous acidophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacterial communities can be incorporated into both passive and active treatments to remove Fe from the AMD solution. Here, we present a protocol of enriching acidophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria in no-flow, fed-batch systems. Mixed cultures of naturally occurring microbes are enriched from the fresh surface sediments at AMD sites using a chemo-static bioreactor (Eppendorf BioFlo®/Celligen® 115 Fermentor) with respect to constant stirring speed, temperature, pH and unlimited dissolved oxygen. Ferrous sulfate is discontinuously added to the reactor as the primary substrate to enrich for acidophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria. Successfully and efficiently enriching acidophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria helps to exploit this biogeochemical process into AMD treatment systems.



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