Host: Prof. Chris Lawson
Syntrophy, or cross-feeding, is the co-existence of two or more microbes whereby one feeds off the products of the other. Recently, we have developed an integrated multi-scale flux modeling approach that allows us, for the first time, to dissect interactions in microbial communities using 13C tracers. Specifically, to quantify metabolism and identify cross-feeding interactions we have developed a compartmental multi-scale 13C metabolic flux analysis (13C-comMFA) approach that quantifies metabolic fluxes for multiple cell populations in microbial communities without separation of cells or proteins. In this presentation, I will illustrate our investigations of metabolic interactions between E. coli auxotrophs that are unable to grow on glucose in minimal medium by themselves, but can grow on glucose when cultured together. Using our novel 13C-comMFA flux analysis tool we have quantified metabolic interactions (i.e. metabolite cross-feeding) in four distinct synthetic E. coli co-cultures. We also applied adaptive laboratory evolution to elucidate how syntrophic interactions evolve and are strengthened through adaptive co-evolution of co-cultures. Overall, the methods we have developed for studying microbial communities enable a broad new area of investigations, allowing us and others to dissect complex microbial systems that are of significant importance in biology but cannot be investigated with current tools. More broadly, by better understanding syntrophic relationships at the genetic, molecular, cellular and systems levels we are generating new knowledge on microbial syntrophy that enables us to ensemble synergistic interactions in engineered microbial communities for novel applications.
Maciek R. Antoniewicz is a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Antoniewicz earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology (2000), and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006). After graduating he performed post-doctoral research at the DuPont Company. Dr. Antoniewicz started as an Assistant Professor in 2007 at the University of Delaware and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013 and to Full Professor in 2017. In 2019, Dr. Antoniewicz moved to the University of Michigan.
Dr. Antoniewicz is an expert and a pioneer in the field of 13C-metabolic flux analysis (13C-MFA). Dr. Antoniewicz has received many awards for his research accomplishments, including the DuPont Young Professor Award (2008), the James E. Bailey Young Investigator Award in Metabolic Engineering (2008), the NSF CAREER Award (2011), and the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Daniel I.C. Wang Award (2015). In 2018, Dr. Antoniewicz was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). His current interests include elucidating syntrophic interactions in microbial communities, adaptive laboratory evolution, optimizing CHO cell cultures for therapeutic protein production, and metabolic engineering of microbes for enhanced utilization of renewable substrates for production of value-added chemicals.