Untargeted Metabolomics Investigation on Selenite Reduction to Elemental Selenium by Bacillus mycoides SeITE01

Front Microbiol. 2021 Sep 16;12:711000. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.711000. eCollection 2021.


Bacillus mycoides SeITE01 is an environmental isolate that transforms the oxyanion selenite ( SeO 3 2 - ) into the less bioavailable elemental selenium (Se0) forming biogenic selenium nanoparticles (Bio-SeNPs). In the present study, the reduction of sodium selenite (Na2SeO3) by SeITE01 strain and the effect of SeO 3 2 - exposure on the bacterial cells was examined through untargeted metabolomics. A time-course approach was used to monitor both cell pellet and cell free spent medium (referred as intracellular and extracellular, respectively) metabolites in SeITE01 cells treated or not with SeO 3 2 - . The results show substantial biochemical changes in SeITE01 cells when exposed to SeO 3 2 - . The initial uptake of SeO 3 2 - by SeITE01 cells (3h after inoculation) shows both an increase in intracellular levels of 4-hydroxybenzoate and indole-3-acetic acid, and an extracellular accumulation of guanosine, which are metabolites involved in general stress response adapting strategies. Proactive and defensive mechanisms against SeO 3 2 - are observed between the end of lag (12h) and beginning of exponential (18h) phases. Glutathione and N-acetyl-L-cysteine are thiol compounds that would be mainly involved in Painter-type reaction for the reduction and detoxification of SeO 3 2 - to Se0. In these growth stages, thiol metabolites perform a dual role, both acting against the toxic and harmful presence of the oxyanion and as substrate or reducing sources to scavenge ROS production. Moreover, detection of the amino acids L-threonine and ornithine suggests changes in membrane lipids. Starting from stationary phase (24 and 48h), metabolites related to the formation and release of SeNPs in the extracellular environment begin to be observed. 5-hydroxyindole acetate, D-[+]-glucosamine, 4-methyl-2-oxo pentanoic acid, and ethanolamine phosphate may represent signaling strategies following SeNPs release from the cytoplasmic compartment, with consequent damage to SeITE01 cell membranes. This is also accompanied by intracellular accumulation of trans-4-hydroxyproline and L-proline, which likely represent osmoprotectant activity. The identification of these metabolites suggests the activation of signaling strategies that would protect the bacterial cells from SeO 3 2 - toxicity while it is converting into SeNPs.

Keywords: Bacillus mycoides SeITE01; selenite; selenium nanoparticles; signaling molecules; time course; untargeted metabolomics.