Characterizing the metabolism of Dehalococcoides with a constraint-based model

Dehalococcoides strains respire a wide variety of chloro-organic compounds and are important for the bioremediation of toxic, persistent, carcinogenic, and ubiquitous ground water pollutants. In order to better understand metabolism and optimize their application, we have developed a pan-genome-scale metabolic network and constraint-based metabolic model of Dehalococcoides. The pan-genome was constructed from publicly available complete genome sequences of Dehalococcoides sp. strain CBDB1, strain 195, strain BAV1, and strain VS. We found that Dehalococcoides pan-genome consisted of 1118 core genes (shared by all), 457 dispensable genes (shared by some), and 486 unique genes (found in only one genome). The model included 549 metabolic genes that encoded 356 proteins catalyzing 497 gene-associated model reactions. Of these 497 reactions, 477 were associated with core metabolic genes, 18 with dispensable genes, and 2 with unique genes. This study, in addition to analyzing the metabolism of an environmentally important phylogenetic group on a pan-genome scale, provides valuable insights into Dehalococcoides metabolic limitations, low growth yields, and energy conservation. The model also provides a framework to anchor and compare disparate experimental data, as well as to give insights on the physiological impact of "incomplete" pathways, such as the TCA-cycle, CO 2 fixation, and cobalamin biosynthesis pathways. The model, referred to as iAI549, highlights the specialized and highly conserved nature of Dehalococcoides metabolism, and suggests that evolution of Dehalococcoides species is driven by the electron acceptor availability.