Proteome characterization of the unsequenced psychrophile Pedobacter cryoconitis using 15N metabolic labeling, tandem mass spectrometry, and a new bioinformatic workflow


Correspondence: Prof. Phillip C. Wright, The ChELSI Institute, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of Sheffield, Mappin Street, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK


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Organisms without a sequenced genome and lacking a complete protein database encounter an added level of complexity to protein identification and quantitation. De novo sequencing, new bioinformatics tools, and mass spectrometry (MS) techniques allow for advances in this area. Here, the proteomic characterization of an unsequenced psychrophilic bacterium, Pedobacter cryoconitis, is presented employing a novel workflow based on 15N metabolic labelling, 2DE, MS/MS, and bioinformatics tools. Two bioinformatics pipelines, based on nitrogen constraint (N-constraint), ortholog searching, and de novo peptide sequencing with N-constraint similarity database search, are compared based on proteome coverage and throughput. Results demonstrate the effect of different growth temperatures (1°C, 20°C) and different carbon sources (glucose, maltose) on the proteome. Seventy-six and 69 proteins were identified and validated from the glucose- and maltose-grown bacterium, respectively, from which 21 and 22 were differentially expressed at different growth temperatures. Differentially expressed proteins are involved in stress response and carbohydrate metabolism, with higher expression at 20°C than at 1°C, while antioxidants were upregulated at 1°C. This study provides an alternative workflow to identify, validate, and quantify proteins from unsequenced organisms distantly related to other species in the protein database. Furthermore, it provides further understanding on bacterial adaptation mechanisms to cold environments, and a comparative proteomic analyses with other psychrophilic microorganisms.