Composition of distinct sub-proteomes in Myxococcus xanthus: metabolic cost and amino acid availability

David E Whitworth, Susan E. Slade, Adrian Mironas

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Subsets of proteins involved in distinct functional processes are subject to different selective pressures. We investigated whether there is an amino acid composition bias (AACB) inherent in discrete subsets of proteins, and whether we could identify changing patterns of AACB during the life cycle of the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. We quantitatively characterised the cellular, soluble secreted, and outer membrane vesicle (OMV) sub-proteomes of M. xanthus, identifying 315 proteins. The AACB of the cellular proteome differed only slightly from that deduced from the genome, suggesting that genome-inferred proteomes can accurately reflect the AACB of their host. Inferred AA deficiencies arising from prey consumption were exacerbated by the requirements of the 68 %GC genome, whose character thus seems to be selected for directly rather than via the proteome. In our analysis, distinct subsets of the proteome (whether segregated spatially or temporally) exhibited distinct AACB, presumably tailored according to the needs of the organism's lifestyle and nutrient availability. Secreted AAs tend to be of lower cost than those retained in the cell, except for the early developmental A-signal, which is a particularly costly sub-proteome. We propose a model of AA reallocation during the M. xanthus life cycle, involving ribophagy during early starvation and sequestration of limiting AAs within cells during development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2521-2531
Number of pages11
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number12
Early online date11 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • myxobacteria
  • coding bias
  • sporulation
  • outer membrane vesicles
  • secretome
  • comparative proteomics


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