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Proteomic and Bioinformatic Analysis of the Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne hapla: The Basis for Plant Parasitism

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journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2010, 00:00 by Flaubert Mbeunkui, Elizabeth H. Scholl, Charles H. Opperman, Michael B. Goshe, David McK. Bird
On the basis of the complete genome sequence of the root-knot nematode Melodogyne hapla, we have deduced and annotated the entire proteome of this plant-parasite to create a database of 14 420 proteins. We have made this database, termed HapPep3, available from the Superfamily repository of model organism proteomes ( To experimentally confirm the HapPep3 assignments using proteomics, we applied a data-independent LC/MSE analysis to M. hapla protein extracts fractionated by SDS-PAGE. A total of 516 nonredundant proteins were identified with an average of 9 unique peptides detected per protein. Some proteins, including examples with complex gene organization, were defined by more than 20 unique peptide matches, thus, providing experimental confirmation of computational predictions of intron/exon structures. On the basis of comparisons of the broad physicochemical properties of the experimental and computational proteomes, we conclude that the identified proteins reflect a true and unbiased sampling of HapPep3. Conversely, HapPep3 appears to broadly cover the protein space able to be experimentally sampled. To estimate the false discovery rate, we queried human, plant, and bacterial databases for matches to the LC/MSE-derived peptides, revealing fewer than 1% of matches, most of which were to highly conserved proteins. To provide a functional comparison of the acquired and deduced proteomes, each was subjected to higher order annotation, including comparisons of Gene Ontology, protein domains, signaling, and localization predictions, further indicating concordance, although those proteins that did deviate seem to be highly significant. Approximately 20% of the experimentally sampled proteome was predicted to be secreted, and thus potentially play a role at the host−parasite interface. We examined reference pathways to determine the extent of proteome similarity of M. hapla to that of the free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, revealing significant similarities and differences. Collectively, the analyzed protein set provides an initial foundation to experimentally dissect the basis of plant parasitism by M. hapla.