Application of Spiroplasma melliferum Proteogenomic Profiling for the Discovery of Virulence Factors and Pathogenicity Mechanisms in Host-associated Spiroplasmas

To date, no genome of any of the species from the genus Spiroplasma has been completely sequenced. Long repetitive sequences similar to mobile units present a major obstacle for current genome sequencing technologies. Here, we report the assembly of the Spiroplasma melliferum KC3 genome into 4 contigs, followed by proteogenomic annotation and metabolic reconstruction based on the discovery of 521 expressed proteins and comprehensive metabolomic profiling. A systems approach allowed us to elucidate putative pathogenicity mechanisms and to discover major virulence factors, such as Chitinase utilization enzymes and toxins never before reported for insect pathogenic spiroplasmas.