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Spatiotemporal distribution of chemical signatures exhibited by Myxococcus xanthus in response to metabolic conditions


Myxococcus xanthus is a common soil bacterium with a complex life cycle, which is known for production of secondary metabolites. However, little is known about the effects of nutrient availability on M. xanthus metabolite production. In this study, we utilize confocal Raman microscopy (CRM) to examine the spatiotemporal distribution of chemical signatures secreted by M. xanthus and their response to varied nutrient availability. Ten distinct spectral features are observed by CRM from M. xanthus grown on nutrient-rich medium. However, when M. xanthus is constrained to grow under nutrient-limited conditions, by starving it of casitone, it develops fruiting bodies, and the accompanying Raman microspectra are dramatically altered. The reduced metabolic state engendered by the absence of casitone in the medium is associated with reduced, or completely eliminated, features at 1140 cm−1, 1560 cm−1, and 1648 cm−1. In their place, a feature at 1537 cm−1 is observed, this feature being tentatively assigned to a transitional phase important for cellular adaptation to varying environmental conditions. In addition, correlating principal component analysis heat maps with optical images illustrates how fruiting bodies in the center co-exist with motile cells at the colony edge. While the metabolites responsible for these Raman features are not completely identified, three M. xanthus peaks at 1004, 1151, and 1510 cm−1 are consistent with the production of lycopene. Thus, a combination of CRM imaging and PCA enables the spatial mapping of spectral signatures of secreted factors from M. xanthus and their correlation with metabolic conditions.

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This work was supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science through grant DE-SC0019312. The authors are grateful to the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility for assistance with various electron imaging measurements.

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Correspondence to Paul W. Bohn.

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Do, H., Madukoma, C.S., Sundaresan, V. et al. Spatiotemporal distribution of chemical signatures exhibited by Myxococcus xanthus in response to metabolic conditions. Anal Bioanal Chem 414, 1691–1698 (2022).

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  • Myxococcus xanthus
  • Confocal Raman
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrients
  • Fruiting bodies