Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, accounts for 1.5 million human deaths annually worldwide. Despite efforts to eradicate tuberculosis, it still remains a deadly disease. The two best characterized strains of M. tuberculosis, virulent H37Rv and avirulent H37Ra, provide a unique platform to investigate biochemical and signaling pathways associated with pathogenicity. To delineate the biomolecular dynamics that may account for pathogenicity and attenuation of virulence in M. tuberculosis, we compared the proteome and phosphoproteome profiles of H37Rv and H37Ra strains. Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis was performed using high-resolution Fourier transform mass spectrometry. Analysis of exponential and stationary phases of these strains resulted in identification and quantitation of 2709 proteins along with 512 phosphorylation sites derived from 257 proteins. In addition to confirming the presence of previously described M. tuberculosis phosphorylated proteins, we identified 265 novel phosphorylation sites. Quantitative proteomic analysis revealed more than five-fold upregulation of proteins belonging to virulence associated type VII bacterial secretion system in H37Rv when compared to those in H37Ra. We also identified 84 proteins, which exhibited changes in phosphorylation levels between the virulent and avirulent strains. Bioinformatics analysis of the proteins altered in their level of expression or phosphorylation revealed enrichment of pathways involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and two-component regulatory system. Our data provides a resource for further exploration of functional differences at molecular level between H37Rv and H37Ra, which will ultimately explain the molecular underpinnings that determine virulence in tuberculosis.
Keywords: Orbitrap Fusion Tribrid mass spectrometer; chaperones; kinome; proteases; proteasomes; protein abundance.