The ability to discriminate bacterial isolates is important for a number of areas of research in Medical Microbiology, particularly in defining bacterial taxonomy and monitoring transmission in epidemiological investigations. Molecular techniques capable of typing bacteria at the level of the genome and proteome are now widely used for these investigations. This review considers two electrophoretic methods for typing bacteria on the basis of their proteomes, namely 1-D SDS-PAGE and 2-DE. The application of these two techniques for bacterial typing is described with reference to two publications that appeared in Electrophoresis [Costa, Electrophoresis 1990, 11, 382-391 and Cash et al., Electrophoresis 1997, 18, 1472-1482]. Even though these methods have been used for nearly 20 years to differentiate bacterial isolates they remain key technologies in proteome-based typing methods. The developments that have arisen from the two key papers are described in order to highlight the advantages and disadvantages in typing bacteria at the level of their proteomes. Some of the difficulties associated with electrophoretic typing methods can be overcome by using non-gel proteomic methods based on MS to provide improved sensitivity and specificity. The application of proteomic methods to investigate bacterial taxonomy, epidemiology and pathogenesis in general has significant potential in furthering our understanding of infectious diseases.
- bacterial proteins