Protein phosphorylation is a crucial posttranslational modification for regulating cellular processes in bacteria; however, it has not been extensively studied because of technical difficulties in the enrichment of phosphopeptides. We devised an enrichment protocol that enabled the identification of >1000 phosphopeptides from a single bacterial sample. We discovered three high-confidence serine and threonine phosphorylation motifs, as well as 29 other motifs at various levels of confidence, from three distinct bacterial phosphoproteomes. We found that the proline-directed and basophilic phosphorylation motifs that are commonly enriched in eukaryotes were not observed in bacteria. Unlike eukaryotes, bacteria had a low occurrence of both phosphorylation and acetylation in N-terminal phosphopeptides. Because infection of host cells by bacterial pathogens is often accompanied by kinase-mediated phosphorylation events, the differences in phosphorylation preferences between bacteria and eukaryotes revealed by this study could be useful in identifying bacterial-specific targets for future therapies.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.