Towards a two-dimensional proteomic reference map of Bradyrhizobium japonicum CPAC 15: spotlighting "hypothetical proteins".
The economic and ecological importance of the symbiosis of soybean with Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains is significant in several countries, particularly Brazil; however, up to now, only one complete and a draft genome for this species are available. In this study, we have obtained a proteomic reference map of B. japonicum strain CPAC 15 (=SEMIA 5079) - used in commercial inoculants for application to soybean crops in Brazil - grown under in vitro conditions. CPAC 15 belongs to the same serogroup as strain USDA 123, and both are known as the soybean bradyrhizobial strains with highest competitive and saprophytic known so far. To increase the precision of the proteomic map, we compared whole-cell 2-D protein gel-electrophoresis profiles of CPAC 15 and of two related strains. One-hundred and seventy representative spots, selected from the three profiles, were analyzed by MS. In total, 148 spots were successfully identified as cytoplasmic and periplasmic proteins belonging to diverse metabolic pathways, several of them related to the saprophytic and competitive abilities of CPAC 15. We attributed probable functions to 26 hypothetical proteins, including those involved in polyhydroxybutyrate metabolism, beta-lactamase, stress responses and aromatic compound degradation, all with high probability of being related to the saprophytic ability of CPAC 15. In addition, by providing valuable information about expressed proteins in B. japonicum in vitro, our results emphasize the importance of accurate functional annotation of uncharacterized expressed proteins, improving considerably our understanding of the legume-rhizobia symbiosis.