A proteomics approach for the identification of species-specific immunogenic proteins in the Mycobacterium abscessus complex. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Mycobacterium abscessus complex can cause fatal pulmonary disease, especially in cystic fibrosis patients. Diagnosing M.abscessus complex pulmonary disease is challenging. Immunologic assays specific for M.abscessus are not available. In this study seven clinical M.abscessus complex strains and the M.abscessus reference strain ATCC19977 were used to find species-specific proteins for their use in immune assays. Six strains showed rough and smooth colony morphotypes simultaneously, two strains only showed rough mophotypes, resulting in 14 separate isolates. Clinical isolates were submitted to whole genome sequencing. Proteomic analysis was performed on bacterial lysates and culture supernatant of all 14 isolates. Species-specificity for M.abscessus complex was determined by a BLAST search for proteins present in all supernatants. Species-specific proteins underwent in silico B- and T-cell epitope prediction. All clinical strains were found to be M.abscessus ssp. abscessus. Mutations in MAB_4099c as a likely genetic basis of the rough morphotype were found in six out of seven clinical isolates. 79 proteins were present in every supernatant, of which 12 are exclusively encoded by all members of M.abscessus complex plus Mycobacterium immunogenum. In silico analyses predicted B- and T-cell epitopes in all of these 12 species-specific proteins.

published proceedings

  • Microbes Infect

altmetric score

  • 4.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Steindor, M., Nkwouano, V., Stefanski, A., Stuehler, K., Ioerger, T. R., Bogumil, D., ... Kalscheuer, R.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Steindor, Mathis||Nkwouano, Vanesa||Stefanski, Anja||Stuehler, Kai||Ioerger, Thomas Richard||Bogumil, David||Jacobsen, Marc||Mackenzie, Colin Rae||Kalscheuer, Rainer

publication date

  • November 2019