Secreted proteins constitute a major part of virulence factors that are responsible for pathogenesis caused by Gram-negative bacteria. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, O157:H7, is the major pathogen often causing outbreaks. However, studies have reported that the significant outbreaks caused by non-O157:H7 E. coli strains, also known as "Big-Six" serogroup strains, are increasing. There is no systematic study describing differential secreted proteins from these non-O157:H7 E. coli strains. In this study, we carried out MS-based differential secretome analysis using tandem mass tags labeling strategy of non-O157:H7 E. coli strains, O103, O111, O121, O145, O26, and O45. We identified 1241 proteins, of which 565 proteins were predicted to be secreted. We also found that 68 proteins were enriched in type III secretion system and several of them were differentially expressed across the strains. Additionally, we identified several strain-specific secreted proteins that could be used for developing potential markers for the identification and strain-level differentiation. To our knowledge, this study is the first comparative proteomic study on secretome of E. coli Big-Six serogroup and the several of these strain-specific secreted proteins can be further studied to develop potential markers for identification and strain-level differentiation. Moreover, the results of this study can be utilized in several applications, including food safety, diagnostics of E. coli outbreaks, and detection and identification of bio threats in biodefense.
Keywords: Escherichia coli; Mass spectrometry; Proteomics; Secretome.
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