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Quantitative N‑Terminal Footprinting of Pathogenic Mycobacteria Reveals Differential Protein Acetylation

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posted on 06.08.2018, 00:00 authored by Cristal Reyna Thompson, Matthew M. Champion, Patricia A. Champion
N-terminal acetylation (NTA) is a post-transcriptional modification of proteins that is conserved from bacteria to humans. In bacteria, the enzymes that mediate protein NTA also promote antimicrobial resistance. In pathogenic mycobacteria, which cause human tuberculosis and other chronic infections, NTA has been linked to pathogenesis and stress response, yet the fundamental biology underlying NTA of mycobacterial proteins remains unclear. We enriched, defined, and quantified the NT-acetylated populations of both cell-associated and secreted proteins from both the human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the nontuberculous opportunistic pathogen, Mycobacterium marinum. We used a parallel N-terminal enrichment strategy from proteolytic digests coupled to charge-based selection and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry. We show that NTA of the mycobacterial proteome is abundant, diverse, and primarily on Thr residues, which is unique compared with other bacteria. We isolated both the acetylated and unacetylated forms of 256 proteins, indicating that NTA of mycobacterial proteins is homeostatic. We identified 16 mycobacterial proteins with differential levels of NTA on the cytoplasmic and secreted forms, linking protein modification and localization. Our findings reveal novel biology underlying the NTA of mycobacterial proteins, which may provide a basis to understand NTA in mycobacterial physiology, pathogenesis, and antimicrobial resistance.

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