Studying the Temporal Dynamics of the Gut Microbiota Using Metabolic Stable Isotope Labeling and Metaproteomics

Anal Chem. 2020 Dec 15;92(24):15711-15718. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02070. Epub 2020 Nov 30.


The gut microbiome and its metabolic processes are dynamic systems. Surprisingly, our understanding of gut microbiome dynamics is limited. Here, we report a metaproteomic workflow that involves protein stable isotope probing (protein-SIP) and identification/quantification of partially labeled peptides. We also developed a package, which we call MetaProfiler, that corrects for false identifications and performs phylogenetic and time series analysis for the study of microbiome dynamics. From the stool sample of five mice that were fed with 15N hydrolysate from Ralstonia eutropha, we identified 12 326 nonredundant unlabeled peptides, of which 8256 of their heavy counterparts were quantified. These peptides revealed incorporation profiles over time that were different between and within taxa, as well as between and within clusters of orthologous groups (COGs). Our study helps unravel the complex dynamics of protein synthesis and bacterial dynamics in the mouse microbiome. MetaProfiler and the bioinformatic pipeline are available at

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cupriavidus necator / chemistry*
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Proteomics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides