Recent efforts in gut microbiome studies have highlighted the importance of explicitly describing the ecological processes beyond correlative analysis. However, we are still at the early stage of understanding the organizational principles of the gut ecosystem, partially because of the limited information provided by currently used analytical tools in ecological modeling practices. Proteomics and metaproteomics can provide a number of insights for ecological studies, including biomass, matter and energy flow, and functional diversity. In this Mini Review, we discuss proteomics and metaproteomics-based experimental strategies that can contribute to studying the ecology, in particular at the mucosal-luminal interface (MLI) where the direct host-microbiome interaction happens. These strategies include isolation protocols for different MLI components, enrichment methods to obtain designated array of proteins, probing for specific pathways, and isotopic labeling for tracking nutrient flow. Integration of these technologies can generate spatiotemporal and site-specific biological information that supports mathematical modeling of the ecosystem at the MLI.
Keywords: Microbiome; bacteria; ecology; exosomes; gastrointestinal disease; host-microbiome interaction; mathematical modeling; metaproteomics; proteomics; viruses.
© 2020 Li and Figeys.