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J Proteome Res. 2011 Mar 4;10(3):1139-50. doi: 10.1021/pr100918u. Epub 2011 Jan 28.

Mapping the protein interaction network in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Mortality attributable to infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has now overtaken the death rate for AIDS in the United States, and advances in research are urgently needed to address this challenge. We report the results of the systematic identification of protein-protein interactions for the hospital-acquired strain MRSA-252. Using a high-throughput pull-down strategy combined with quantitative proteomics to distinguish specific from nonspecific interactors, we identified 13,219 interactions involving 608 MRSA proteins. Consecutive analyses revealed that this protein interaction network (PIN) exhibits scale-free organization with the characteristic presence of highly connected hub proteins. When clinical and experimental antimicrobial targets were queried in the network, they were generally found to occupy peripheral positions in the PIN with relatively few interacting partners. In contrast, the hub proteins identified in this MRSA PIN that are essential for network integrity and stability have largely been overlooked as drug targets. Thus, this empirical MRSA-252 PIN provides a rich source for identifying critical proteins essential for network stability, many of which can be considered as prospective antimicrobial drug targets.

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