The interaction between a cell and its environment shapes fundamental intracellular processes such as cellular metabolism. In most cases growth rate is treated as a proximal metric for understanding the cellular metabolic status. However, changes in growth rate might not reflect metabolic variations in individuals responding to environmental fluctuations. Here we use single-cell microfluidics-microscopy combined with transcriptomics, proteomics and mathematical modelling to quantify the accumulation of glucose within Escherichia coli cells. In contrast to the current consensus, we reveal that environmental conditions which are comparatively unfavourable for growth, where both nutrients and salinity are depleted, increase glucose accumulation rates in individual bacteria and population subsets. We find that these changes in metabolic function are underpinned by variations at the translational and posttranslational level but not at the transcriptional level and are not dictated by changes in cell size. The metabolic response-characteristics identified greatly advance our fundamental understanding of the interactions between bacteria and their environment and have important ramifications when investigating cellular processes where salinity plays an important role.
G.G. was supported by an EPSRC DTP PhD studentship (EP/M506527/1). M.V. and K.T.A. gratefully acknowledge financial support from the EPSRC (EP/N014391/1). U.L. was supported through a BBSRC grant (BB/V008021/1) and an MRC Proximity to Discovery EXCITEME2 grant (MCPC17189). This work was further supported by a Royal Society Research Grant (RG180007) awarded to S.P. and a QUEX Initiator grant awarded to S.P. and K.T.A.. D.S.M., T.A.R. and S.P.’s work in this area is also supported by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie project SINGEK (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015-675752) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative (GBMF5514). B.M.I. acknowledges support from a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Award to the University of Exeter (204909/Z/16/Z). This project utilised equipment funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (WT097835MF), Wellcome Trust Multi User Equipment Award (WT101650MA) and BBSRC LOLA award (BB/K003240/1).
Glover G, Voliotis M, Łapińska U, et al. Nutrient and salt depletion synergistically boosts glucose metabolism in individual Escherichia coli cells. Communications Biology. 2022;5. doi:10.1038/s42003-022-03336-6
Glover, G., Voliotis, M., Łapińska, U., Invergo, B. M., Soanes, D., O’Neill, P., … Pagliara, S. (2022). Nutrient and salt depletion synergistically boosts glucose metabolism in individual Escherichia coli cells. Communications Biology. Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03336-6
Glover, Georgina, Margaritis Voliotis, Urszula Łapińska, Brandon M. Invergo, Darren Soanes, Paul O’Neill, Karen Moore, et al. “Nutrient and Salt Depletion Synergistically Boosts Glucose Metabolism in Individual Escherichia Coli Cells.” Communications Biology. Springer Nature, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03336-6.
G. Glover et al., “Nutrient and salt depletion synergistically boosts glucose metabolism in individual Escherichia coli cells,” Communications Biology, vol. 5. Springer Nature, 2022.
Glover G, Voliotis M, Łapińska U, Invergo BM, Soanes D, O’Neill P, Moore K, Nikolic N, Petrov P, Milner DS, Roy S, Heesom K, Richards TA, Tsaneva-Atanasova K, Pagliara S. 2022. Nutrient and salt depletion synergistically boosts glucose metabolism in individual Escherichia coli cells. Communications Biology. 5, 385.
Glover, Georgina, et al. “Nutrient and Salt Depletion Synergistically Boosts Glucose Metabolism in Individual Escherichia Coli Cells.” Communications Biology, vol. 5, 385, Springer Nature, 2022, doi:10.1038/s42003-022-03336-6.
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