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Expert Rev Proteomics. 2005 Dec;2(6):863-78.

Classification and identification of bacteria using mass spectrometry-based proteomics.

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Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), PO Box 68, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-0068, USA.


Timely classification and identification of bacteria is of vital importance in many areas of public health. Mass spectrometry-based methods provide an attractive alternative to well-established microbiologic procedures. Mass spectrometry methods can be characterized by the relatively high speed of acquiring taxonomically relevant information. Gel-free mass spectrometry proteomics techniques allow for rapid fingerprinting of bacterial proteins using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry or, for high-throughput sequencing of peptides from protease-digested cellular proteins, using mass analysis of fragments from collision-induced dissociation of peptide ions. The latter technique uses database searching of product ion mass spectra. A database contains a comprehensive list of protein sequences translated from protein-encoding open reading frames found in bacterial genomes. The results of such searches allow the assignment of experimental peptide sequences to matching theoretical bacterial proteomes. Phylogenetic profiles of sequenced peptides are then used to create a matrix of sequence-to-bacterium assignments, which are analyzed using numerical taxonomy tools. The results thereof reveal the relatedness between bacteria, and allow the taxonomic position of an investigated strain to be inferred.

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