Targeted Detection of Dehalococcoides mccartyi Microbial Protein Biomarkers as Indicators of Reductive Dechlorination Activity in Contaminated Groundwater


Manuel I. Villalobos Solis, Paul E. Abraham, Karuna Chourey, Cynthia M. Swift, Frank E. Löffler, Robert L. Hettich


Dehalococcoides mccartyi (Dhc) bacterial strains expressing active reductive dehalogenase (RDase) enzymes play key roles in the transformation and detoxification of chlorinated pollutants, including chlorinated ethenes. Site monitoring regimes traditionally rely on qPCR to assess the presence of Dhc biomarker genes; however, this technique alone cannot directly inform about dechlorination activity. To supplement gene-centric approaches and provide a more reliable proxy for dechlorination activity, we sought to demonstrate a targeted proteomics approach that can characterize Dhc mediated dechlorination in groundwater contaminated with chlorinated ethenes. Targeted peptide selection was conducted in axenic cultures of Dhc strains 195, FL2, and BAV1. These experiments yielded 37 peptides from housekeeping and structural proteins (i.e., GroEL, EF-TU, rpL7/L2 and the S-layer), as well as proteins involved in the reductive dechlorination activity (i.e., FdhA, TceA, and BvcA). The application of targeted proteomics to a defined bacterial consortium and contaminated groundwater samples resulted in the detection of FdhA peptides, which revealed active dechlorination with Dhc strain-level resolution, and the detection of RDases peptides indicating specific reductive dechlorination steps. The results presented here show that targeted proteomics can be applied to groundwater samples and provide protein level information about Dhcdechlorination activity.

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Solis MIV, Abraham PE, Chourey K, Swift CM, Loffler FE, Hettich RL. 2019. Targeted detection of Dehalococcoides mccartyi microbial protein biomarkers as indicators of reductive dechlorination activity in contaminated groundwater. Scientific Reports 9.