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J Mol Model. 2012 May;18(5):1917-25. doi: 10.1007/s00894-011-1212-3. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

Structure-based functional inference of hypothetical proteins from Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.

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  • 1Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Enzootic pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is a major constraint to efficient pork production throughout the world. This pathogen has a small genome with 716 coding sequences, of which 418 are homologous to proteins with known functions. However, almost 42% of the 716 coding sequences are annotated as hypothetical proteins. Alternative methodologies such as threading and comparative modeling can be used to predict structures and functions of such hypothetical proteins. Often, these alternative methods can answer questions about the properties of a model system faster than experiments. In this study, we predicted the structures of seven proteins annotated as hypothetical in M. hyopneumoniae, using the structure-based approaches mentioned above. Three proteins were predicted to be involved in metabolic processes, two proteins in transcription and two proteins where no function could be assigned. However, the modeled structures of the last two proteins suggested experimental designs to identify their functions. Our findings are important in diminishing the gap between the lack of annotation of important metabolic pathways and the great number of hypothetical proteins in the M. hyopneumoniae genome.

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