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Proteome analysis of Paenibacillus larvae reveals the existence of a putative S-layer protein


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Honey bee pathology has attracted much interest recently due to the problems with honey bee declines in many regions of the world. American Foulbrood (AFB) caused by Paenibacillus larvae is the most devastating bacterial brood disease of the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) causing considerable economic losses to beekeepers worldwide. AFB outbreaks are mainly caused by two differentially virulent genotypes of P. larvae, P. larvae ERIC I and ERIC II. To better understand AFB pathogenesis and to complement already existing data from the genetic level we aimed at obtaining expression data from the protein level. We successfully developed a protocol for two-dimensional proteome analysis of P. larvae with subsequent mass-spectrometry based protein sequencing. Based on the obtained master protein maps of P. larvae genotypes ERIC I and II we identified the dominantly expressed cytosolic proteins of both genotypes, some of them presumably linked to pathogenesis and virulence. Comparing the master maps of both genotypes revealed differentially expressed proteins, i.e. a putative S-layer protein which is expressed by P. larvae ERIC II but absent from the proteome of P. larvae ERIC I. The implications of our findings for pathogenesis of AFB and virulence of P. larvae will be discussed.