Researchers in the Biotechnology component of ENIGMA are expanding the scope of capabilities by developing and applying a suite of technological tools for studies of genetics, protein abundance, structure, localization, and metabolism that will provide systems-level insights into microbial activity. Such insights will form the foundation for predictive models of key microorganisms from a single environment that will serve as valuable resources for assessing ecological questions relevant to microbial community structure and function.
To this end, researchers in the ENIGMA biology component have established a flexible experimental pipeline in metal-reducing and sulfate-reducing bacteria. This pipeline will generate new and improved tools for high-throughput strain/construct mutants; evidence-based annotation of gene function using mutagenesis and extensive phenotyping; evidence-based annotation of transcripts using tiling microarrays and RNAseq; protein and protein complex isolation and structural analysis; mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics analysis; and high resolution imaging.
Further technology development will enable the rapid and cost-effective applications of these tools to environmental isolates. In addition, researchers in the ENIGMA biology component are exploring the integration of diverse data types including metabolomics and high-throughput genetics to elucidate gene functions.