Rapid Identification of E. coli Bacteriophages using Mass Spectrometry
Objective: The current increasing interest in the application of mass spectrometry, in particular MALDI-TOF MS, to identification of bacteria and fungi calls for a need to utilise this technology for identification of other infectious agents such as viruses. The aim of the present study was to develop a rapid and reliable mass spectrometry-based proteomic method for identification of Escherichia coli phages.
Methods: The approach was based on rapid in-solution tryptic digestion of suspensions of plaque-purified bacteriophage followed by mass spectral analysis. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) were used to analyse the tryptic digests. Processing of tandem mass spectrometry data and interpretation of results were achieved using Mascot software and the Swiss-Prot database.
Results: Five bacteriophage species (Enterobacteria phages P2, T4, T5, T7 and Lambda) isolated in E. coli cultures were identified. The viral proteins were identified from a complex mixture of host bacterial proteins. In addition, using a single ion monitoring method, a Lambda prophage derived protein was also identified.
Conclusion: The data obtained demonstrate that LC-MS/MS can be used for accurate identification of E.coli- specific bacteriophages in both lytic and lysogenic cycles