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J Proteome Res. 2009 Apr;8(4):1972-82. doi: 10.1021/pr800923e.

S-layer, surface-accessible, and concanavalin A binding proteins of Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The outermost cell envelope structure of many archaea and bacteria contains a proteinaceous lattice termed the surface layer or S-layer. It is typically composed of only one or two abundant, often posttranslationally modified proteins that self-assemble to form the highly organized arrays. Surprisingly, over 100 proteins were annotated to be S-layer components in the archaeal species Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A and Methanosarcina mazei Gö1, reflecting limitations of current predictions. An in vivo biotinylation methodology was devised to affinity tag surface-exposed proteins while overcoming unique challenges in working with these fragile organisms. Cells were adapted to growth under N2 fixing conditions, thus, minimizing free amines reactive to the NHS-label, and high pH media compatible with the acylation chemistry was used. A 3-phase separation procedure was employed to isolate intact, labeled cells from lysed-cell derived proteins. Streptavidin affinity enrichment followed by stringent wash conditions removed nonspecifically bound proteins. This methodology revealed S-layer proteins in M. acetivorans C2A and M. mazei Gö1 to be MA0829 and MM1976, respectively. Each was demonstrated to exist as multiple glycosylated forms using SDS-PAGE coupled with glycoprotein-specific staining, and by interaction with the lectin, Concanavalin A. A number of additional surface-exposed proteins and glycoproteins were identified and included all three subunits of the thermosome: the latter suggests that the chaperonin complex is both surface- and cytoplasmically localized. This approach provides an alternative strategy to study surface proteins in the archaea.

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