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Molecules. 2009 Aug 28;14(9):3237-58. doi: 10.3390/molecules14093237.

Protein turnover in mycobacterial proteomics.

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Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.


Understanding the biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is one of the primary challenges in current tuberculosis research. Investigation of mycobacterial biology using the systems biology approach has deciphered much information with regard to the bacilli and tuberculosis pathogenesis. The modulation of its environment and the ability to enter a dormant phase are the hallmarks of M. tuberculosis. Until now, proteome studies have been able to understand much about the role of various proteins, mostly in growing M. tuberculosis cells. It has been difficult to study dormant M. tuberculosis by conventional proteomic techniques with very few proteins being found to be differentially expressed. Discrepancy between proteome and transcriptome studies lead to the conclusion that a certain aspect of the mycobacterial proteome is not being explored. Analysis of protein turnover may be the answer to this dilemma. This review, while giving a gist of the proteome response of mycobacteria to various stresses, analyzes the data obtained from abundance studies versus data from protein turnover studies in M. tuberculosis. This review brings forth the point that protein turnover analysis is capable of discerning more subtle changes in protein synthesis, degradation, and secretion activities. Thus, turnover studies could be incorporated to provide a more in-depth view into the proteome, especially in dormant or persistent cells. Turnover analysis might prove helpful in drug discovery and a better understanding of the dynamic nature of the proteome of mycobacteria.

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