A Prochlorococcus proving ground for constraint-based metabolic modeling and multi-‘omics data integration

John Casey1, Boyang Ji2, Saeed Shaoie2, Adil Mardinoglu2, Partho Sarathi Sen2, Oliver Jahn3, Khairi Reda4, Jason Leigh5, Michael J Follows6, Jens Nielsen2,7 and David M Karl8, (1)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oceanography, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)Chalmers University of Technology, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Gothenburg, Sweden, (3)MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Argonne National Laboratory, Office of Science, Argonne, IL, United States, (5)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Information and Computer Sciences, Honolulu, HI, United States, (6)Massachusetts Inst Tech, Cambridge, MA, United States, (7)Technical University of Denmark, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Horsholm, Denmark, (8)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, United States
Representatives of the oligotrophic marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus are the smallest free-living photosynthetic organisms, both in terms of physical size and genome size, yet are the most abundant photoautotrophic microbes in the oceans and profoundly influence global biogeochemical cycles. Physiological and regulatory control of nutrient and light stress has been observed in MED4 in culture and in its closely related ‘ecotype’ eMED4 in the field, however its metabolism has not been investigated in detail. We present a genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction of the high-light adapted axenic strain MED4ax (“iJCMED4”) for the quantitative analysis of a range of its metabolic phenotypes. The resulting structure is a proving ground for the incorporation of enzyme kinetics, biochemical and elemental compositional data, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and fluxomic datasets which can be implemented within a constraint-based metabolic modeling environment. The iJCMED4 stoichiometric model consists of 523 metabolic genes encoding 787 reactions with 673 unique metabolites distributed in 5 sub-cellular compartments and is mass, charge, and thermodynamically balanced. Several variants of flux balance analysis were used to simulate growth and metabolic fluxes over the diel cycle, under various stress conditions (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus, light), and within the framework of a global biogeochemical model (DARWIN). Model simulations accurately predicted growth rates in culture under a variety of defined medium compositions and there was close agreement of photosynthetic performance, biomass and energy yields and efficiencies, and transporter fluxes for iJCMED4 and culture experiments. In addition to a nearly optimal photosynthetic quotient and central carbon metabolism efficiency, MED4 has made dramatic alterations to redox and phosphorus metabolism across biosynthetic and intermediate pathways. We propose that reductions in phosphate reaction participation reflects the P-deplete environment where MED4 was originally isolated.