Proteomic and Isotopic Response of Desulfovibrio vulgaris to DsrC Perturbation

William D. Leavitt, Sofia S. Venceslau, Jacob Waldbauer, Derek A. Smith, Inês A. Cardoso Pereira, Alexander S. Bradley

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Dissimilatory sulfate reduction is a microbial energy metabolism that can produce sulfur isotopic fractionations over a large range in magnitude. Calibrating sulfur isotopic fractionation in laboratory experiments allows for better interpretations of sulfur isotopes in modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks. The proteins involved in sulfate reduction are expressed in response to environmental conditions, and are collectively responsible for the net isotopic fractionation between sulfate and sulfide. We examined the role of DsrC, a key component of the sulfate reduction pathway, by comparing wildtype Desulfovibrio vulgaris DSM 644T to strain IPFG07, a mutant deficient in DsrC production. Both strains were cultivated in parallel chemostat reactors at identical turnover times and cell specific sulfate reduction rates. Under these conditions, sulfur isotopic fractionations between sulfate and sulfide of 17.3 ± 0.5 or 12.6 ± 0.5 were recorded for the wildtype or mutant, respectively. The enzymatic machinery that produced these different fractionations was revealed by quantitative proteomics. Results are consistent with a cellular-level response that throttled the supply of electrons and sulfur supply through the sulfate reduction pathway more in the mutant relative to the wildtype, independent of rate. We conclude that the smaller fractionation observed in the mutant strain is a consequence of sulfate reduction that proceeded at a rate that consumed a greater proportion of the strains overall capacity for sulfate reduction. These observations have consequences for models of sulfate reducer metabolism and how it yields different isotopic fractionations, notably, the role of DsrC in central energy metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number658
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAPR
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Chemostat
  • Microbial energy metabolism
  • Microbial sulfate reduction
  • Proteomics
  • Sulfur isotope fractionation


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