Coupling MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry protein and specialized metabolite analyses to rapidly discriminate bacterial function

Chase Clark, Maria S. Costa, Laura M. Sanchez, Brian T. Murphy

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Received: 20th October 17

Herein we present a significant innovation to microbial identification methods that are currently used to analyze biological and chemical components of bacteria. We developed the first data acquisition and bioinformatics pipeline (IDBac) that couples in situ matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) fingerprinting of intact proteins and specialized metabolites. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this pipeline, we elucidated subtle intra-species variations in specialized metabolite production of closely related bacterial strains within Bacillus, Paenibacillus, and Micromonospora genera based on in situ antibiotic, siderophore, and motility factor production. Coupling analysis of the protein and specialized metabolite MS regions addresses an urgent community need to rapidly assess and differentiate bacteria by functional metabolism, as well as elucidate phylogenetic resolution superior to that obtained from sequencing highly conserved genetic markers alone. The IDBac pipeline is freely available and facilitates the profiling of 384 single colonies in under four hours.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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