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Infect Immun. 1997 Nov;65(11):4515-24.

Definition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture filtrate proteins by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, N-terminal amino acid sequencing, and electrospray mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1677, USA.


A number of the culture filtrate proteins secreted by Mycobacterium tuberculosis are known to contribute to the immunology of tuberculosis and to possess enzymatic activities associated with pathogenicity. However, a complete analysis of the protein composition of this fraction has been lacking. By using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, detailed maps of the culture filtrate proteins of M. tuberculosis H37Rv were generated. In total, 205 protein spots were observed. The coupling of this electrophoretic technique with Western blot analysis allowed the identification and mapping of 32 proteins. Further molecular characterization of abundant proteins within this fraction was achieved by N-terminal amino acid sequencing and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Eighteen proteins were subjected to N-group analysis; of these, only 10 could be sequenced by Edman degradation. Among the most interesting were a novel 52-kDa protein demonstrating significant homology to an alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase of Eubacterium sp. strain VPI 12708, a 25-kDa protein corresponding to open reading frame 28 of the M. tuberculosis cosmid MTCY1A11, and a 31-kDa protein exhibiting an amino acid sequence identical to that of antigen 85A and 85B. This latter product migrated with an isoelectric point between those of antigen 85A and 85C but did not react with the antibody specific for this complex, suggesting that there is a fourth member of the antigen 85 complex. Novel N-terminal amino acid sequences were obtained for three additional culture filtrate proteins; however, these did not yield significant homology to known protein sequences. A protein cluster of 85 to 88 kDa, recognized by the monoclonal antibodies IT-57 and IT-42 and known to react with sera from a large proportion of tuberculosis patients, was refractory to N-group analysis. Nevertheless, mass spectrometry of peptides obtained from one member of this complex identified it as the M. tuberculosis KatG catalase/peroxidase. Thus, the detailed mapping of M. tuberculosis proteins, combined with state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry, provides a basis for further analysis and rapid identification of biologically relevant molecules.

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