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1.  RNA Sequencing and Proteogenomics Reveal the Importance of Leaderless mRNAs in the Radiation-Tolerant Bacterium Deinococcus deserti 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2014;6(4):932-948.
Deinococcus deserti is a desiccation- and radiation-tolerant desert bacterium. Differential RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed to explore the specificities of its transcriptome. Strikingly, for 1,174 (60%) mRNAs, the transcription start site was found exactly at (916 cases, 47%) or very close to the translation initiation codon AUG or GUG. Such proportion of leaderless mRNAs, which may resemble ancestral mRNAs, is unprecedented for a bacterial species. Proteomics showed that leaderless mRNAs are efficiently translated in D. deserti. Interestingly, we also found 173 additional transcripts with a 5′-AUG or 5′-GUG that would make them competent for ribosome binding and translation into novel small polypeptides. Fourteen of these are predicted to be leader peptides involved in transcription attenuation. Another 30 correlated with new gene predictions and/or showed conservation with annotated and nonannotated genes in other Deinococcus species, and five of these novel polypeptides were indeed detected by mass spectrometry. The data also allowed reannotation of the start codon position of 257 genes, including several DNA repair genes. Moreover, several novel highly radiation-induced genes were found, and their potential roles are discussed. On the basis of our RNA-seq and proteogenomics data, we propose that translation of many of the novel leaderless transcripts, which may have resulted from single-nucleotide changes and maintained by selective pressure, provides a new explanation for the generation of a cellular pool of small peptides important for protection of proteins against oxidation and thus for radiation/desiccation tolerance and adaptation to harsh environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC4007540  PMID: 24723731
protein translation initiation; genome evolution; small peptides; desiccation tolerance; protein protection; transcription start sites
2.  Proteomic insights into the lifestyle of an environmentally relevant marine bacterium 
The ISME Journal  2011;6(1):124-135.
In terms of lifestyle, free-living bacteria are classified as either oligotrophic/specialist or opportunist/generalist. Heterogeneous marine environments such as coastal waters favour the establishment of marine generalist bacteria, which code for a large pool of functions. This is basically foreseen to cope with the heterogeneity of organic matter supplied to these systems. Nevertheless, it is not known what fraction of a generalist proteome is needed for house-keeping functions or what fraction is modified to cope with environmental changes. Here, we used high-throughput proteomics to define the proteome of Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3, a model marine generalist bacterium of the Roseobacter clade. We evaluated its genome expression under several natural environmental conditions, revealing the versatility of the bacterium to adapt to anthropogenic influence, poor nutrient concentrations or the presence of the natural microbial community. We also assayed 30 different laboratory incubations to increase proteome coverage and to dig further into the functional genomics of the bacterium. We established its core proteome and the proteome devoted to adaptation to general cellular physiological variations (almost 50%). We suggest that the other half of its theoretical proteome is the opportunist genetic pool devoted exclusively to very specific environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3246242  PMID: 21776030
proteomics; core proteome; specialist; generalist; Roseobacters; functional genomics
3.  Proteomics-based Refinement of Deinococcus deserti Genome Annotation Reveals an Unwonted Use of Non-canonical Translation Initiation Codons* 
Deinococcaceae are a family of extremely radiation-tolerant bacteria that are currently subjected to numerous studies aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms for such radiotolerance. To achieve a comprehensive and accurate annotation of the Deinococcus deserti genome, we performed an N terminus-oriented characterization of its proteome. For this, we used a labeling reagent, N-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium acetyl succinimide, to selectively derivatize protein N termini. The large scale identification of N-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium acetyl succinimide-modified N-terminal-most peptides by shotgun liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis led to the validation of 278 and the correction of 73 translation initiation codons in the D. deserti genome. In addition, four new genes were detected, three located on the main chromosome and one on plasmid P3. We also analyzed signal peptide cleavages on a genome-wide scale. Based on comparative proteogenomics analysis, we propose a set of 137 corrections to improve Deinococcus radiodurans and Deinococcus geothermalis gene annotations. Some of these corrections affect important genes involved in DNA repair mechanisms such as polA, ligA, and ddrB. Surprisingly, experimental evidences were obtained indicating that DnaA (the protein involved in the DNA replication initiation process) and RpsL (the S12 ribosomal conserved protein) translation is initiated in Deinococcaceae from non-canonical codons (ATC and CTG, respectively). Such use may be the basis of specific regulation mechanisms affecting replication and translation. We also report the use of non-conventional translation initiation codons for two other genes: Deide_03051 and infC. Whether such use of non-canonical translation initiation codons is much more frequent than for other previously reported bacterial phyla or restricted to Deinococcaceae remains to be investigated. Our results demonstrate that predicting translation initiation codons is still difficult for some bacteria and that proteomics-based refinement of genome annotations may be helpful in such cases.
PMCID: PMC2830850  PMID: 19875382
4.  Alliance of Proteomics and Genomics to Unravel the Specificities of Sahara Bacterium Deinococcus deserti 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(3):e1000434.
To better understand adaptation to harsh conditions encountered in hot arid deserts, we report the first complete genome sequence and proteome analysis of a bacterium, Deinococcus deserti VCD115, isolated from Sahara surface sand. Its genome consists of a 2.8-Mb chromosome and three large plasmids of 324 kb, 314 kb, and 396 kb. Accurate primary genome annotation of its 3,455 genes was guided by extensive proteome shotgun analysis. From the large corpus of MS/MS spectra recorded, 1,348 proteins were uncovered and semiquantified by spectral counting. Among the highly detected proteins are several orphans and Deinococcus-specific proteins of unknown function. The alliance of proteomics and genomics high-throughput techniques allowed identification of 15 unpredicted genes and, surprisingly, reversal of incorrectly predicted orientation of 11 genes. Reversal of orientation of two Deinococcus-specific radiation-induced genes, ddrC and ddrH, and identification in D. deserti of supplementary genes involved in manganese import extend our knowledge of the radiotolerance toolbox of Deinococcaceae. Additional genes involved in nutrient import and in DNA repair (i.e., two extra recA, three translesion DNA polymerases, a photolyase) were also identified and found to be expressed under standard growth conditions, and, for these DNA repair genes, after exposure of the cells to UV. The supplementary nutrient import and DNA repair genes are likely important for survival and adaptation of D. deserti to its nutrient-poor, dry, and UV-exposed extreme environment.
Author Summary
D. deserti belongs to the Deinococcaceae, a family of bacteria characterized by an exceptional ability to withstand the lethal effects of DNA-damaging agents, including ionizing radiation, UV light, and desiccation. It was isolated from Sahara surface sands, an extreme and nutrient-poor environment, regularly exposed to intense UV radiation, cycles of extreme temperatures, and desiccation. The evolution of organisms that are able to survive acute irradiation doses of 15,000 Gy is difficult to explain given the apparent absence of highly radioactive habitats on Earth over geologic time. Thus, it seems more likely that the natural selection pressure for the evolution of radiation-resistant bacteria was chronic exposure to nonradioactive forms of DNA damage, in particular those promoted by desiccation. Here, we report the first complete genome sequence of a bacterium, D. deserti VCD115, isolated from hot, arid desert surface sand. Accurate genome annotation of its 3,455 genes was guided by extensive proteome analysis in which 1,348 proteins were uncovered after growth in standard conditions. Supplementary genes involved in manganese import, in nutrient import, and in DNA repair were identified and are likely important for survival and adaptation of D. deserti to its hostile environment.
PMCID: PMC2669436  PMID: 19370165
5.  Expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of the PAB0955 gene product 
PAB0955 has been expressed, purified and crystallized, and it has been shown that this thermostable protein is dimeric in reductive conditions.
PAB0955 from Pyrococcus abyssi is a prototype of a new Walker-type ATPase/GTPase conserved in archaea and eukaryota but not found in bacteria. PAB0955 has been expressed, purified and crystallized, and it has been shown that this thermostable protein is dimeric in reductive conditions. Crystals have been obtained either without nucleotide or in the presence of GDP or GTPγS. Preliminary X-ray crystallographic data up to 2.08 Å resolution have been collected from these crystals.
PMCID: PMC1952251  PMID: 16510996
6.  THUMP from archaeal tRNA:m22G10 methyltransferase, a genuine autonomously folding domain 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(9):2483-2494.
The tRNA:m22G10 methyltransferase of Pyrococus abyssi (PAB1283, a member of COG1041) catalyzes the N2,N2-dimethylation of guanosine at position 10 in tRNA. Boundaries of its THUMP (THioUridine synthases, RNA Methyltransferases and Pseudo-uridine synthases)—containing N-terminal domain [1–152] and C-terminal catalytic domain [157–329] were assessed by trypsin limited proteolysis. An inter-domain flexible region of at least six residues was revealed. The N-terminal domain was then produced as a standalone protein (THUMPα) and further characterized. This autonomously folded unit exhibits very low affinity for tRNA. Using protein fold-recognition (FR) methods, we identified the similarity between THUMPα and a putative RNA-recognition module observed in the crystal structure of another THUMP-containing protein (ThiI thiolase of Bacillus anthracis). A comparative model of THUMPα structure was generated, which fulfills experimentally defined restraints, i.e. chemical modification of surface exposed residues assessed by mass spectrometry, and identification of an intramolecular disulfide bridge. A model of the whole PAB1283 enzyme docked onto its tRNAAsp substrate suggests that the THUMP module specifically takes support on the co-axially stacked helices of T-arm and acceptor stem of tRNA and, together with the catalytic domain, screw-clamp structured tRNA. We propose that this mode of interactions may be common to other THUMP-containing enzymes that specifically modify nucleotides in the 3D-core of tRNA.
PMCID: PMC1459410  PMID: 16687654

Results 1-6 (6)