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Issue 21, 2013
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Forensic proteomics of poxvirus production

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The field of microbial forensics has recently sought to develop methods to discern biological signatures to indicate production methods for biological agents. Viral agents have received less attention to date. Their obligate propagation in living cells makes purification from cellular material a challenge. This leads to potential carryover of protein-rich signatures of their production system. Here we have explored a proteomic analysis of vaccinia virus as a model poxvirus system in which to compare samples of virus propagated in different cell lines and subjected to different purification schemes. The proteomic data sets indicated viral, host cell and culture medium proteins. Several layers of data analysis were applied to build confidence in the peptide identification and capture information on the taxonomic utility of each. The analysis showed clear shifts in protein profiles with virus purification, with successive gradient purification steps showing different levels of viral protein enrichment. Peptides from cellular proteins, including those present in purified virus preparations, provided signatures which enabled discrimination of cell line substrates, including distinguishing between cells derived from different primate species. The ability to discern multiple aspects of viral production demonstrates the potential value of proteomic analysis as tool for microbial forensics.

Graphical abstract: Forensic proteomics of poxvirus production

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The article was received on 09 Apr 2013, accepted on 09 Aug 2013 and first published on 27 Aug 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3AN00711A
Analyst, 2013,138, 6385-6397

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    Forensic proteomics of poxvirus production

    D. Wunschel, E. Tulman, H. Engelmann, B. H. Clowers, S. Geary, A. Robinson and X. Liao, Analyst, 2013, 138, 6385
    DOI: 10.1039/C3AN00711A

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