Publication Type: Journal Article
Source: mSystems, Volume 2, Number 3, p.e00015-17 (2017)
Rhodobacter sphaeroides is one of the best-studied alphaproteobacteria from biochemical, genetic, and genomic perspectives. To gain a better systems-level understanding of this organism, we generated a large transposon mutant library and used transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes that are essential under several growth conditions. Using newly developed Tn-seq analysis software (TSAS), we identified 493 genes as essential for aerobic growth on a rich medium. We then used the mutant library to identify conditionally essential genes under two laboratory growth conditions, identifying 85 additional genes required for aerobic growth in a minimal medium and 31 additional genes required for photosynthetic growth. In all instances, our analyses confirmed essentiality for many known genes and identified genes not previously considered to be essential. We used the resulting Tn-seq data to refine and improve a genome-scale metabolic network model (GEM) for R. sphaeroides. Together, we demonstrate how genetic, genomic, and computational approaches can be combined to obtain a systems-level understanding of the genetic framework underlying metabolic diversity in bacterial species.
IMPORTANCE Knowledge about the role of genes under a particular growth condition is required for a holistic understanding of a bacterial cell and has implications for health, agriculture, and biotechnology. We developed the Tn-seq analysis software (TSAS) package to provide a flexible and statistically rigorous workflow for the high-throughput analysis of insertion mutant libraries, advanced the knowledge of gene essentiality in R. sphaeroides, and illustrated how Tn-seq data can be used to more accurately identify genes that play important roles in metabolism and other processes that are essential for cellular survival.