I recently read an article in Science entitled “Lysine Acetylation Targets Protein Complexes and Co-Regulates Major Cellular Functions” written by Choudhary et al. The research uses “high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify 3600 lysine acetylation sites on 1750 proteins” and “demonstrate[s] that the regulatory scope of lysine acetylation is broad and comparable with that of other major posttranslational modifications.”
I’m going to admit, I know little of acetylation as a regulatory mechanism, though after reading through the paper, I found this quite and interesting find and it suggests to me that genomics has a lot to offer in the advance in our understanding of regulation and evolution.
Three things jumped out at me though.
The first is minor. The authors use the term Acytelome. You can now add that to the huge list of -omics terms to keep straight :D.
The second is that they use STRING to complete an analysis of networked interactions of the proteins discovered in their study and the processes where they are found, as you can see in their figure.
I did my postdoc and some later research in the lab (Peer Bork, EMBL) that developed STRING, and I’ve created a tutorial on it, so any time it’s used, I’m interested :D. So, I went to Methods and Materials to see how the analysis was done. Though there was a decent explanation of the process, it was not enough for me to recreate the analysis. This is not a criticism of the paper or the authors, but of how papers are being published. More and more, papers include genomics analysis, but rarely are these reported in the research paper in the detail needed to easily reproduce the analysis. Projects like Galaxy (publicly available tutorial) and Taverna are filling that void, so I’d like to see more Methods and Materials sections include analysis histories and workflows. It definitely would help in the advancement of science.
And now to the tip of the week. The paper also refers to a new database (at least new to me, it’s at least two years old and was reported in “Phosida: management, structural and evolutionary investigation and prediction of phosphosites.“) called Phosida. The database “allows retrieval of phosphorylation and acetylation data of any protein of interest.” The Tip-of-the-Week today is a quick introduction to that database.
Choudhary, C., Kumar, C., Gnad, F., Nielsen, M., Rehman, M., Walther, T., Olsen, J., & Mann, M. (2009). Lysine Acetylation Targets Protein Complexes and Co-Regulates Major Cellular Functions Science, 325 (5942), 834-840 DOI: 10.1126/science.1175371