Send to

Choose Destination
J Proteome Res. 2006 Oct;5(10):2527-38.

Sub-speciating Campylobacter jejuni by proteomic analysis of its protein biomarkers and their post-translational modifications.

Author information

Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA.


We have identified several protein biomarkers of three Campylobacter jejuni strains (RM1221, RM1859, and RM3782) by proteomic techniques. The protein biomarkers identified are prominently observed in the time-of-flight mass spectra (TOF MS) of bacterial cell lysate supernatants ionized by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). The protein biomarkers identified were: DNA-binding protein HU, translation initiation factor IF-1, cytochrome c553, a transthyretin-like periplasmic protein, chaperonin GroES, thioredoxin Trx, and ribosomal proteins: L7/L12 (50S), L24 (50S), S16 (30S), L29 (50S), and S15 (30S), and conserved proteins similar to strain NCTC 11168 proteins Cj1164 and Cj1225. The protein biomarkers identified appear to represent high copy, intact proteins. The significant findings are as follows: (1) Biomarker mass shifts between these strains were due to amino acid substitutions of the primary polypeptide sequence and not due to changes in post-translational modifications (PTMs). (2) If present, a PTM of a protein biomarker appeared consistently for all three strains, which supported that the biomarker mass shifts observed between strains were not due to PTM variability. (3) The PTMs observed included N-terminal methionine (N-Met) cleavage as well as a number of other PTMs. (4) It was discovered that protein biomarkers of C. jejuni (as well as other thermophilic Campylobacters) appear to violate the N-Met cleavage rule of bacterial proteins, which predicts N-Met cleavage if the penultimate residue is threonine. Two protein biomarkers (HU and 30S ribosomal protein S16) that have a penultimate threonine residue do not show N-Met cleavage. In all other cases, the rule correctly predicted N-Met cleavage among the biomarkers analyzed. This exception to the N-Met cleavage rule has implications for the development of bioinformatics algorithms for protein/pathogen identification. (5) There were fewer biomarker mass shifts between strains RM1221 and RM1859 compared to strain RM3782. As the mass shifts were due to the frequency of amino acid substitutions (and thus underlying genetic variations), this suggested that strains RM1221 and RM1859 were phylogenetically closer to one another than to strain RM3782 (in addition, a protein biomarker prominent in the spectra of RM1221 and RM1859 was absent from the RM3782 spectrum due to a nonsense mutation in the gene of the biomarker). These observations were confirmed by a nitrate reduction test, which showed that RM1221 and RM1859 were C. jejuni subsp. jejuni whereas RM3782 was C. jejuni subsp. doylei. This result suggests that detection/identification of protein biomarkers by pattern recognition and/or bioinformatics algorithms may easily subspeciate bacterial microorganisms. (6) Finally, the number and variation of PTMs detected in this relatively small number of protein biomarkers suggest that bioinformatics algorithms for pathogen identification may need to incorporate many more possible PTMs than suggested previously in the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center