Extracellularly released particles, including membrane vesicles, have increasingly been recognized as important for bacterial community functions and host-interaction processes, but their compositions and functional roles differ between species and also between strains of the same species. In this study, we have determined the composition of membrane vesicles and protein particles identified in the cell-free pellets of two strains of Apilactobacillus kunkeei, a defensive symbiont of honeybees. The membrane vesicles were separated from the extracellular particles using density gradient ultracentrifugation. The peaks of the RNA and protein distributions were separated from each other and the highest concentration of RNA was observed in the fractions that contained the membrane vesicles while the highest protein concentration coincided with the fractions that contained extracellular particles. A comparative proteomics analysis by LC-MS/MS showed that 37 proteins with type-I signal peptides were consistently identified across the fractionated samples obtained from the cell-free pellets, of which 29 were orthologs detected in both strains. Functional predictions of the extracellular proteins revealed the presence of glycoside hydrolases, glycosyltransferases, giant proteins and peptidases. The extracellular transcriptomes mapped to a broad set of genes with a similar functional profile as the whole cell transcriptome. This study provides insights into the composition of membrane vesicles and extracellular proteins of a bee-associated symbiont.
Keywords: Apilactobacillus kunkeei; cryo-electron tomography; electron microscopy; membrane vesicles; nanoparticles; proteomics; transcriptomics.
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS.