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Logo of bmcgenoBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Genomics
BMC Genomics. 2009; 10: 118.
Published online 2009 March 19. doi:  10.1186/1471-2164-10-118
PMCID: PMC2671525

Uncovering new signaling proteins and potential drug targets through the interactome analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis



Analysis of the pathogen interactome is a powerful approach for dissecting potential signal transduction and virulence pathways. It also offers opportunities for exploring new drug targets.


In this study, a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv was constructed using a homogenous protein mapping method, which has shown molecular chaperones, ribosomal proteins and ABC transporters to be highly interconnected proteins. A further analysis of this network unraveled the function of hypothetical proteins as well as a potential signaling pathway. A hypothetical protein, Rv2752c, which was linked to a metal cation-transporting ATPase, was characterized as a metal-beta-lactamase, through domain analysis in combination with an in vitro activity experiment. A second hypothetical protein, Rv1354c, and an unknown protein kinase, PknK, interacted with a similar group of inner membrane-associated ABC transporters in the PPI network. The interactions of Rv1354 with these proteins were also confirmed by a further bacterial two-hybrid analysis. According to protein domain structures, the unique M. tuberculosis Rv1354c gene was proposed, for the first time, to be responsible for the turnover of cyclic-di-GMP, a second messenger molecule in this bacterium. A further structure-based inhibitors screening for Rv1354c was also performed in silicon.


We constructed a comprehensive protein-protein interaction network for M. tuberculosis consisting of 738 proteins and 5639 interaction pairs. Our analysis unraveled the function of hypothetical proteins as well as a potential signaling pathway. The group of ABC transporters, PknK, and Rv1354c were proposed to constitute a potential membrane-associated signaling pathway that cooperatively responds to environmental stresses in M. tuberculosis. The study therefore provides valuable clues in exploring new signaling proteins, virulence pathways, and drug targets.

Articles from BMC Genomics are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central