Cell research

High-coverage proteome analysis reveals the first insight of protein modification systems in the pathogenic spirochete Leptospira interrogans.

PMID 19918266


Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonotic disease caused by pathogenic spirochetes of the genus Leptospira that infects humans and a wide range of animals. By combining computational prediction and high-accuracy tandem mass spectra, we revised the genome annotation of Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai, a free-living pathogenic spirochete responsible for leptospirosis, providing substantial peptide evidence for novel genes and new gene boundaries. Subsequently, we presented a high-coverage proteome analysis of protein expression and multiple posttranslational modifications (PTMs). Approximately 64.3% of the predicted L. interrogans proteins were cataloged by detecting 2 540 proteins. Meanwhile, a profile of multiple PTMs was concurrently established, containing in total 32 phosphorylated, 46 acetylated and 155 methylated proteins. The PTM systems in the serovar Lai show unique features. Unique eukaryotic-like features of L. interrogans protein modifications were demonstrated in both phosphorylation and arginine methylation. This systematic analysis provides not only comprehensive information of high-coverage protein expression and multiple modifications in prokaryotes but also a view suggesting that the evolutionarily primitive L. interrogans shares significant similarities in protein modification systems with eukaryotes.