Lipoproteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis : an abundant and functionally diverse class of cell envelope components

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Sutcliffe, Iain ; Harrington, Dean (2004)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains the predominant bacterial scourge of mankind. Understanding of its biology and pathogenicity has been greatly advanced by the determination of whole genome sequences for this organism. Bacterial lipoproteins are a functionally diverse class of membrane-anchored proteins. The signal peptides of these proteins direct their export and post-translational lipid modification. These signal peptides are amenable to bioinformatic analysis, allowing the lipoproteins encoded in whole genomes to be catalogued. This review applies bioinformatic methods to the identification and functional characterisation of the lipoproteins encoded in the M. tuberculosis genomes. Ninety nine putative lipoproteins were identified and so this family of proteins represents ca. 2.5% of the M. tuberculosis predicted proteome. Thus, lipoproteins represent an important class of cell envelope proteins that may contribute to the virulence of this major pathogen.
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