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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #405348

Research Project: Management and Characterization of Microbial Genetic Resources and Associated Descriptive Information

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: microbeMASST: A taxonomically informed mass spectrometry search tool for microbial metabolomics data

Author
item ZUFFA, SIMONE - University Of California, San Diego
item SCHMID, ROBIN - University Of California, San Diego
item BAUERMEISTER, ANELIZE - University Of California, San Diego
item GOMES, PAULO W. - University Of California
item CARABALLO-RODRIGUES, ANDRES - University Of California, San Diego
item EL ABIEAD, YASIN - University Of California
item ARON, ALLEGRA - University Of Denver
item GENTRY, EMILY - Virginia Tech
item ZEMLIN, JASMINE - University Of California
item DORRENSTEIN, PIETER - University Of California, San Diego
item Broders, Kirk

Submitted to: Nature Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/29/2023
Publication Date: 2/5/2024
Citation: Zuffa, S., Schmid, R., Bauermeister, A., Gomes, P.P., Caraballo-Rodriguez, A., El Abiead, Y., Aron, A.T., Gentry, E.C., Zemlin, J., Dorrenstein, P., Broders, K.D. 2024. microbeMASST: A taxonomically informed mass spectrometry search tool for microbial metabolomics data. Nature Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-023-01575-9.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-023-01575-9

Interpretive Summary: Microorganisms drive global carbon cycles and establish symbiotic relationships with their hosts, influencing health, aging, and behavior. These microbes interact and manipulate their environment through the production and use of secondary metabolites and small molecules. The vast genetic potential of these communities is demonstrated by the fact that microbial communities inhabiting humans, plants, animals, and insects encode approximately 100 times more genes than the host genome. However, this metabolic potential remains hidden in modern metabolomics experiments, where typically less than 1% of the small molecules can be classified as microbial. An ARS researcher in Peoria, IL, collaborated with a global network of scientists from over 20 academic institutions led by UC-San Diego to develop microbeMASST which is a taxonomically-informed mass spectrometry (MS) search tool, that is able to annotate and discover the microbial origin of known and unknown metabolites in untargeted metabolomics experiments. We anticipate microbeMASST will be a key resource to improve our understanding of microbial metabolites across a wide range of ecosystems, including plants, soil, insects, animals, and humans. Moreover, microbeMASST holds immense potential for various applications, ranging from aquaculture and agriculture to biotechnology and the study of microbial-mediated human health conditions.

Technical Abstract: MicrobeMASST, a taxonomically-informed mass spectrometry (MS) search tool, tackles limited microbial metabolite annotation in untargeted metabolomics experiments. Leveraging a curated database of >60,000 microbial monocultures, known and unknown metabolites can be searched and linked to their respective microbial producers via the MS fragmentation patterns. Producer identification of microbial-derived metabolites, without any a priori knowledge, will vastly enhance the understanding of microbiota role in ecology and human health.