TitleBioinformatics comparisons of RNA-binding proteins of pathogenic and non-pathogenic Escherichia coli strains reveal novel virulence factors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsGhosh P, Sowdhamini R
JournalBMC Genomics
Date Published2017 Aug 24

BACKGROUND: Pathogenic bacteria have evolved various strategies to counteract host defences. They are also exposed to environments that are undergoing constant changes. Hence, in order to survive, bacteria must adapt themselves to the changing environmental conditions by performing regulations at the transcriptional and/or post-transcriptional levels. Roles of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) as virulence factors have been very well studied. Here, we have used a sequence search-based method to compare and contrast the proteomes of 16 pathogenic and three non-pathogenic E. coli strains as well as to obtain a global picture of the RBP landscape (RBPome) in E. coli.

RESULTS: Our results show that there are no significant differences in the percentage of RBPs encoded by the pathogenic and the non-pathogenic E. coli strains. The differences in the types of Pfam domains as well as Pfam RNA-binding domains, encoded by these two classes of E. coli strains, are also insignificant. The complete and distinct RBPome of E. coli has been established by studying all known E. coli strains till date. We have also identified RBPs that are exclusive to pathogenic strains, and most of them can be exploited as drug targets since they appear to be non-homologous to their human host proteins. Many of these pathogen-specific proteins were uncharacterised and their identities could be resolved on the basis of sequence homology searches with known proteins. Detailed structural modelling, molecular dynamics simulations and sequence comparisons have been pursued for selected examples to understand differences in stability and RNA-binding.

CONCLUSIONS: The approach used in this paper to cross-compare proteomes of pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains may also be extended to other bacterial or even eukaryotic proteomes to understand interesting differences in their RBPomes. The pathogen-specific RBPs reported in this study, may also be taken up further for clinical trials and/or experimental validations.

Alternate JournalBMC Genomics
PubMed ID28836963
PubMed Central IDPMC5571608