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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 25;9(8):e104794. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104794. eCollection 2014.

Molecular and Evolutionary Analysis of NEAr-Iron Transporter (NEAT) Domains.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
  • 2Genomic Medicine, The J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Iron is essential for bacterial survival, being required for numerous biological processes. NEAr-iron Transporter (NEAT) domains have been studied in pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria to understand how their proteins obtain heme as an iron source during infection. While a 2002 study initially discovered and annotated the NEAT domain encoded by the genomes of several Gram-positive bacteria, there remains a scarcity of information regarding the conservation and distribution of NEAT domains throughout the bacterial kingdom, and whether these domains are restricted to pathogenic bacteria. This study aims to expand upon initial bioinformatics analysis of predicted NEAT domains, by exploring their evolution and conserved function. This information was used to identify new candidate domains in both pathogenic and nonpathogenic organisms. We also searched metagenomic datasets, specifically sequence from the Human Microbiome Project. Here, we report a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of 343 NEAT domains, encoded by Gram-positive bacteria, mostly within the phylum Firmicutes, with the exception of Eggerthella sp. (Actinobacteria) and an unclassified Mollicutes bacterium (Tenericutes). No new NEAT sequences were identified in the HMP dataset. We detected specific groups of NEAT domains based on phylogeny of protein sequences, including a cluster of novel clostridial NEAT domains. We also identified environmental and soil organisms that encode putative NEAT proteins. Biochemical analysis of heme binding by a NEAT domain from a protein encoded by the soil-dwelling organism Paenibacillus polymyxa demonstrated that the domain is homologous in function to NEAT domains encoded by pathogenic bacteria. Together, this study provides the first global bioinformatics analysis and phylogenetic evidence that NEAT domains have a strong conservation of function, despite group-specific differences at the amino acid level. These findings will provide information useful for future projects concerning the structure and function of NEAT domains, particularly in pathogens where they have yet to be studied.

PMID:
25153520
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC4143258
Free PMC Article

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