A novel peptidomic approach to strain typing of clinical acinetobacter baumannii isolates using mass spectrometry

Honghui Wang, Steven K. Drake, Chen Yong, Marjan Gucek, Margaret Tropea, Avi Z. Rosenberg, John P. Dekker, Anthony F. Suffredini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Acinetobacter baumannii is a common nosocomial pathogen and strain-typing methods play an important role in hospital outbreak investigations and epidemiologic surveillance. We describe a method for identifying strain-specific peptide markers based on LC-MS/MS profiling of digested peptides. This method classified a test set of A. baumannii isolates collected from a hospital outbreak with discriminatory performance exceeding that of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. METHODS: Following the construction of a species "pan-peptidome" by in silico translation and digestion of whole genome sequences, a hypothetical set of genome-specific peptides for an isolate was constructed from the disjoint set of the pan-peptidome and the isolate's calculated peptidome. The genome-specific peptidome guided selection of highly expressed genome-specific peptides from LC-MS/MS experimental profiles as potential peptide markers. The species specificity of each experimentally identified genome-specific peptide was confirmed through a Unipept lowest common ancestor analysis. RESULTS: Fifteen A. baumannii isolates were analyzed to derive a set of genome- and species-specific peptides that could be used as peptide markers. Identified peptides were cross-checked with protein BLAST against a set of 22 A. baumannii whole genome sequences. A subset of these peptide markers was confirmed to be present in the actual peptide profiles generated by multiple reaction monitoring and targeted LC-MS/MS. The experimentally identified peptides separated these isolates into 6 strains that agreed with multilocus sequence typing analysis performed on the same isolates. CONCLUSIONS: This approach may be generalizable to other bacterial species, and the peptides may be useful for rapid MS strain tracking of isolates with broad application to infectious disease diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-875
Number of pages10
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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