Integrated proteomics and metabolomics suggests symbiotic metabolism and multimodal regulation in a fungal-endobacterial system

Environ Microbiol. 2017 Mar;19(3):1041-1053. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13605. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Many plant-associated fungi host endosymbiotic endobacteria with reduced genomes. While endobacteria play important roles in these tri-partite plant-fungal-endobacterial systems, the active physiology of fungal endobacteria has not been characterized extensively by systems biology approaches. Here, we use integrated proteomics and metabolomics to characterize the relationship between the endobacterium Mycoavidus sp. and the root-associated fungus Mortierella elongata. In nitrogen-poor media, M. elongata had decreased growth but hosted a large and growing endobacterial population. The active endobacterium likely extracted malate from the fungal host as the primary carbon substrate for energy production and biosynthesis of phospho-sugars, nucleobases, peptidoglycan and some amino acids. The endobacterium obtained nitrogen by importing a variety of nitrogen-containing compounds. Further, nitrogen limitation significantly perturbed the carbon and nitrogen flows in the fungal metabolic network. M. elongata regulated many pathways by concordant changes on enzyme abundances, post-translational modifications, reactant concentrations and allosteric effectors. Such multimodal regulations may be a general mechanism for metabolic modulation.

MeSH terms

  • Burkholderiaceae / metabolism*
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolomics
  • Mortierella / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteomics
  • Symbiosis*


  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen