Metaproteomic analysis of a bacterial community response to cadmium exposure

Carla M.R. Lacerda, Leila H. Choe, Kenneth F. Reardon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Microbial communities are of great environmental, medical, and industrial significance. To date, biomolecular methods to study communities have focused on identifying species, with limited capabilities to reveal functions. Proteomics has the potential to yield functional information about these communities, but the application of proteomic methods to complex mixtures of unsequenced organisms is in its infancy. In this study, 2DE, MALDI-TOF/TOF MS, and de novo peptide sequencing were used for the separation and identification of proteins differentially expressed over time following exposure of a bacterial community to an inhibitory level of cadmium. Significant community proteome responses after 0.25, 1,2, and 3 h of exposure to cadmium were observed, with more than 100 protein expression changes detected at each time point. Several temporal responses were observed, and the most common expression pattern was immediate up- or down-regulation within 15 min of shock followed by maintenance of that level. More than 100 unique differentially expressed proteins were identified through database searching and de novo sequencing. Proteins of importance in the cadmium shock included ATPases, oxidoreductases, and transport proteins. The ability of proteomics to detect the differential regulation of these proteins even during short cadmium exposures shows that it is a powerful tool in explaining cellular mechanisms for a mixed culture. This is the first report of the large-scale identification of proteins involved in the dynamic response of a community of unsequenced bacteria using de novo sequencing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1152
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • 2DE MS/MS
  • Cadmium
  • De novo sequencing
  • Environmental proteomics
  • Metaproteomics
  • Microbial community


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