Global histone analysis by mass spectrometry reveals a high content of acetylated lysine residues in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Morten B. Trelle, Adriana M. Salcedo-Amaya, Adrian M. Cohen, Hendrik G. Stunnenberg, Ole Nørregaard Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histone tails play a key role in epigenetic regulation of gene expression in a range of organisms from yeast to human; however, little is known about histone proteins from the parasite that causes malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum. We characterized P. falciparum histone PTMs using advanced mass spectrometry driven proteomics. Acid-extracted proteins were resolved in SDS-PAGE, in-gel trypsin digested, and analyzed by reversed-phase LC-MS/MS. Through the combination of Q-TOF and LTQ-FT mass spectrometry we obtained high mass accuracy of both precursor and fragment ions, which is a prerequisite for high-confidence identifications of multisite peptide modifications. We utilize MS/MS fragment marker ions to validate the identification of histone modifications and report the m/z 143 ion as a novel MS/MS marker ion for monomethylated lysine. We identified all known P. falciparum histones and mapped 44 different modifications, providing a comprehensive view of epigenetic marks in the parasite. Interestingly, the parasite exhibits a histone modification pattern that is distinct from its human host. A general preponderance for modifications associated with a transcriptionally permissive state was observed. Additionally, a novel differentiation in the modification pattern of the two histone H2B variants (H2B and H2Bv) was observed, suggesting divergent functions of the two H2B variants in the parasite. Taken together, our results provide a first comprehensive map of histone modifications in P. falciparum and highlight the utility of tandem MS for detailed analysis of peptides containing multiple PTMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3439-3450
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Histone
  • Malaria
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Post-translational modifications

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