In vitro culture based approaches are time- and cost-effective solutions for rapidly evaluating the effects of drugs or natural compounds against microbiomes. The nutritional composition of the culture medium is an important determinant for effectively maintaining the gut microbiome in vitro. This study combines orthogonal experimental design and a metaproteomics approach to obtaining functional insights into the effects of different medium components on the microbiome. Our results show that the metaproteomic profile respond differently to medium components, including inorganic salts, bile salts, mucin, and short-chain fatty acids. Multifactor analysis of variance further revealed significant main and interaction effects of inorganic salts, bile salts, and mucin on the different functional groups of gut microbial proteins. While a broad regulating effect was observed on basic metabolic pathways, different medium components also showed significant modulations on cell wall, membrane, and envelope biogenesis and cell motility related functions. In particular, flagellar assembly related proteins were significantly responsive to the presence of mucin. This study provides information on the functional influences of medium components on the in vitro growth of microbiome communities and gives insight on the key components that must be considered when selecting and optimizing media for culturing ex vivo microbiotas.
Keywords: functional insights; gut microbiome; in vitro culturing; metaproteomics; orthogonal design.