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1.  The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool: Generating protein quantitation estimates from LC-MS/MS proteomics results 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:529.
Background
Mass spectrometry (MS) based label-free protein quantitation has mainly focused on analysis of ion peak heights and peptide spectral counts. Most analyses of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) data begin with an enzymatic digestion of a complex protein mixture to generate smaller peptides that can be separated and identified by an MS/MS instrument. Peptide spectral counting techniques attempt to quantify protein abundance by counting the number of detected tryptic peptides and their corresponding MS spectra. However, spectral counting is confounded by the fact that peptide physicochemical properties severely affect MS detection resulting in each peptide having a different detection probability. Lu et al. (2007) described a modified spectral counting technique, Absolute Protein Expression (APEX), which improves on basic spectral counting methods by including a correction factor for each protein (called Oi value) that accounts for variable peptide detection by MS techniques. The technique uses machine learning classification to derive peptide detection probabilities that are used to predict the number of tryptic peptides expected to be detected for one molecule of a particular protein (Oi). This predicted spectral count is compared to the protein's observed MS total spectral count during APEX computation of protein abundances.
Results
The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool, introduced here, is a free open source Java application that supports the APEX protein quantitation technique. The APEX tool uses data from standard tandem mass spectrometry proteomics experiments and provides computational support for APEX protein abundance quantitation through a set of graphical user interfaces that partition thparameter controls for the various processing tasks. The tool also provides a Z-score analysis for identification of significant differential protein expression, a utility to assess APEX classifier performance via cross validation, and a utility to merge multiple APEX results into a standardized format in preparation for further statistical analysis.
Conclusion
The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool provides a simple means to quickly derive hundreds to thousands of protein abundance values from standard liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry proteomics datasets. The APEX tool provides a straightforward intuitive interface design overlaying a highly customizable computational workflow to produce protein abundance values from LC-MS/MS datasets.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-529
PMCID: PMC2639435  PMID: 19068132
2.  Proteomic View of Interactions of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli with the Intestinal Environment in Gnotobiotic Piglets 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66462.
Background
Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli cause severe intestinal infections involving colonization of epithelial Peyer’s patches and formation of attachment/effacement (A/E) lesions. These lesions trigger leukocyte infiltration followed by inflammation and intestinal hemorrhage. Systems biology, which explores the crosstalk of Stx-producing Escherichia coli with the in vivo host environment, may elucidate novel molecular pathogenesis aspects.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli strain 86–24 produces Shiga toxin-2 and belongs to the serotype O157:H7. Bacterial cells were scrapped from stationary phase cultures (the in vitro condition) and used to infect gnotobiotic piglets via intestinal lavage. Bacterial cells isolated from the piglets’ guts constituted the in vivo condition. Cell lysates were subjected to quantitative 2D gel and shotgun proteomic analyses, revealing metabolic shifts towards anaerobic energy generation, changes in carbon utilization, phosphate and ammonia starvation, and high activity of a glutamate decarboxylase acid resistance system in vivo. Increased abundance of pyridine nucleotide transhydrogenase (PntA and PntB) suggested in vivo shortage of intracellular NADPH. Abundance changes of proteins implicated in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis (LpxC, ArnA, the predicted acyltransferase L7029) and outer membrane (OM) assembly (LptD, MlaA, MlaC) suggested bacterial cell surface modulation in response to activated host defenses. Indeed, there was evidence for interactions of innate immunity-associated proteins secreted into the intestines (GP340, REG3-γ, resistin, lithostathine, and trefoil factor 3) with the bacterial cell envelope.
Significance
Proteomic analysis afforded insights into system-wide adaptations of strain 86–24 to a hostile intestinal milieu, including responses to limited nutrients and cofactor supplies, intracellular acidification, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species-mediated stress. Protein and lipopolysaccharide compositions of the OM were altered. Enhanced expression of type III secretion system effectors correlated with a metabolic shift back to a more aerobic milieu in vivo. Apparent pathogen pattern recognition molecules from piglet intestinal secretions adhered strongly to the bacterial cell surface.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066462
PMCID: PMC3686733  PMID: 23840478
3.  Integrated next-generation sequencing of 16S rDNA and metaproteomics differentiate the healthy urine microbiome from asymptomatic bacteriuria in neuropathic bladder associated with spinal cord injury 
Background
Clinical dogma is that healthy urine is sterile and the presence of bacteria with an inflammatory response is indicative of urinary tract infection (UTI). Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) represents the state in which bacteria are present but the inflammatory response is negligible. Differentiating ABU from UTI is diagnostically challenging, but critical because overtreatment of ABU can perpetuate antimicrobial resistance while undertreatment of UTI can result in increased morbidity and mortality. In this study, we describe key characteristics of the healthy and ABU urine microbiomes utilizing 16S rRNA gene (16S rDNA) sequencing and metaproteomics, with the future goal of utilizing this information to personalize the treatment of UTI based on key individual characteristics.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of 26 healthy controls and 27 healthy subjects at risk for ABU due to spinal cord injury-related neuropathic bladder (NB) was conducted. Of the 27 subjects with NB, 8 voided normally, 8 utilized intermittent catheterization, and 11 utilized indwelling Foley urethral catheterization for bladder drainage. Urine was obtained by clean catch in voiders, or directly from the catheter in subjects utilizing catheters. Urinalysis, urine culture and 16S rDNA sequencing were performed on all samples, with metaproteomic analysis performed on a subsample.
Results
A total of 589454 quality-filtered 16S rDNA sequence reads were processed through a NextGen 16S rDNA analysis pipeline. Urine microbiomes differ by normal bladder function vs. NB, gender, type of bladder catheter utilized, and duration of NB. The top ten bacterial taxa showing the most relative abundance and change among samples were Lactobacillales, Enterobacteriales, Actinomycetales, Bacillales, Clostridiales, Bacteroidales, Burkholderiales, Pseudomonadales, Bifidobacteriales and Coriobacteriales. Metaproteomics confirmed the 16S rDNA results, and functional human protein-pathogen interactions were noted in subjects where host defenses were initiated.
Conclusions
Counter to clinical belief, healthy urine is not sterile. The healthy urine microbiome is characterized by a preponderance of Lactobacillales in women and Corynebacterium in men. The presence and duration of NB and method of urinary catheterization alter the healthy urine microbiome. An integrated approach of 16S rDNA sequencing with metaproteomics improves our understanding of healthy urine and facilitates a more personalized approach to prevention and treatment of infection.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-174
PMCID: PMC3511201  PMID: 22929533
Bacteriuria; Urine; Catheter; Neuropathic; Bladder; Microbiome; Metaproteome; Next-generation; Personalized; rRNA
4.  Characterizing the Escherichia coli O157:H7 Proteome Including Protein Associations with Higher Order Assemblies 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26554.
Background
The recent outbreak of severe infections with Shiga toxin (Stx) producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O104:H4 highlights the need to understand horizontal gene transfer among E. coli strains, identify novel virulence factors and elucidate their pathogenesis. Quantitative shotgun proteomics can contribute to such objectives, allowing insights into the part of the genome translated into proteins and the connectivity of biochemical pathways and higher order assemblies of proteins at the subcellular level.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined protein profiles in cell lysate fractions of STEC strain 86-24 (serotype O157:H7), following growth in cell culture or bacterial isolation from intestines of infected piglets, in the context of functionally and structurally characterized biochemical pathways of E. coli. Protein solubilization in the presence of Triton X-100, EDTA and high salt was followed by size exclusion chromatography into the approximate Mr ranges greater than 280 kDa, 280-80 kDa and 80-10 kDa. Peptide mixtures resulting from these and the insoluble fraction were analyzed by quantitative 2D-LC-nESI-MS/MS. Of the 2521 proteins identified at a 1% false discovery rate, representing 47% of all predicted E. coli O157:H7 gene products, the majority of integral membrane proteins were enriched in the high Mr fraction. Hundreds of proteins were enriched in a Mr range higher than that predicted for a monomer supporting their participation in protein complexes. The insoluble STEC fraction revealed enrichment of aggregation-prone proteins, including many that are part of large structure/function entities such as the ribosome, cytoskeleton and O-antigen biosynthesis cluster.
Significance
Nearly all E. coli O157:H7 proteins encoded by prophage regions were expressed at low abundance levels or not detected. Comparative quantitative analyses of proteins from distinct cell lysate fractions allowed us to associate uncharacterized proteins with membrane attachment, potential participation in stable protein complexes, and susceptibility to aggregation as part of larger structural assemblies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026554
PMCID: PMC3210124  PMID: 22087229
5.  The Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 proteome, profiled in the host intestinal environment, reveals major metabolic modifications and increased expression of invasive proteins 
Proteomics  2009;9(22):5029-5045.
Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) causes the most severe form of epidemic bacillary dysentery. We present the first comprehensive proteome analysis of this pathogen, profiling proteins from bacteria cultured in vitro and bacterial isolates from the large bowel of infected gnotobiotic piglets (in vivo). Overall, 1061 distinct gene products were identified. Differential display analysis revealed that SD1 cells switched to an anaerobic energy metabolism in vivo. High in vivo abundances of amino acid decarboxylases (GadB and AdiA) which enhance pH homeostasis in the cytoplasm and protein disaggregation chaperones (HdeA, HdeB and ClpB) were indicative of a coordinated bacterial survival response to acid stress. Several type III secretion system (T3SS) effectors were increased in abundance in vivo, including OspF, IpaC and IpaD. These proteins are implicated in invasion of colonocytes and subversion of the host immune response in S. flexneri. These observations likely reflect an adaptive response of SD1 to the hostile host environment. Seven proteins, among them the T3SS effectors OspC2 and IpaB, were detected as antigens in western blots using piglet antisera. The outer membrane protein OmpA, the heat shock protein HtpG and OspC2 represent novel SD1 subunit vaccine candidates and drug targets.
doi:10.1002/pmic.200900196
PMCID: PMC3001339  PMID: 19813213
acid stress; bacillary dysentery; proteome analysis; Shigella dysenteriae
6.  A proteogenomic update to Yersinia: enhancing genome annotation 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:460.
Background
Modern biomedical research depends on a complete and accurate proteome. With the widespread adoption of new sequencing technologies, genome sequences are generated at a near exponential rate, diminishing the time and effort that can be invested in genome annotation. The resulting gene set contains numerous errors in even the most basic form of annotation: the primary structure of the proteins.
Results
The application of experimental proteomics data to genome annotation, called proteogenomics, can quickly and efficiently discover misannotations, yielding a more accurate and complete genome annotation. We present a comprehensive proteogenomic analysis of the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis KIM. We discover non-annotated genes, correct protein boundaries, remove spuriously annotated ORFs, and make major advances towards accurate identification of signal peptides. Finally, we apply our data to 21 other Yersinia genomes, correcting and enhancing their annotations.
Conclusions
In total, 141 gene models were altered and have been updated in RefSeq and Genbank, which can be accessed seamlessly through any NCBI tool (e.g. blast) or downloaded directly. Along with the improved gene models we discover new, more accurate means of identifying signal peptides in proteomics data.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-460
PMCID: PMC3091656  PMID: 20687929
7.  Widespread Occurrence of Non-Enzymatic Deamidations of Asparagine Residues in Yersinia pestis Proteins Resulting from Alkaline pH Membrane Extraction Conditions 
The open proteomics journal  2008;1:106-115.
Extraction of crude membrane fractions with alkaline solutions, such as 100–200 mM Na2CO3 (pH ~11), is often used to solubilize peripheral membrane proteins. Integral membrane proteins are largely retained in membrane pellets. We applied this method to the fractionation of membrane proteins of the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Extensive horizontal spot trains were observed in 2-DE gels. The pI values of the most basic spots part of such protein spot trains usually matched the computationally predicted pI values. Regular patterns of decreasing spot pI values and in silico analysis with the software ProMoST suggested `n-1' deamidations of asparagine (N) and/or glutamine (Q) side chains for `n' observed spots of a protein in a given spot train. MALDI-MS analysis confirmed the occurrence of deamidations, particularly in N side chains part of NG dipeptide motifs. In more than ten cases, tandem MS data for tryptic peptides provided strong evidence for deamidations, with y- and b-ion series increased by 1 Da following N-to-D substitutions. Horizontal spot trains in 2-DE gels were rare when alkaline extraction was omitted during membrane protein sample preparation. This study strongly supports the notion that exposure to alkaline pH solutions is a dominant cause of extensive N and Q side chain deamidations in proteins during sample preparation of membrane extracts. The modifications are of non-enzymatic nature and not physiologically relevant. Therefore, quantitative spot differences within spot trains in differential protein display experiments following the aforementioned sample preparation steps need to be interpreted cautiously.
doi:10.2174/1875039700801010106
PMCID: PMC2860289  PMID: 20428468
Alkaline membrane extraction; deamidation; membrane proteome; spot train; two-dimensional gel electrophoresis
8.  Proteomic analysis of iron acquisition, metabolic and regulatory responses of Yersinia pestis to iron starvation 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:30.
Background
The Gram-negative bacterium Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of the bubonic plague. Efficient iron acquisition systems are critical to the ability of Y. pestis to infect, spread and grow in mammalian hosts, because iron is sequestered and is considered part of the innate host immune defence against invading pathogens. We used a proteomic approach to determine expression changes of iron uptake systems and intracellular consequences of iron deficiency in the Y. pestis strain KIM6+ at two physiologically relevant temperatures (26°C and 37°C).
Results
Differential protein display was performed for three Y. pestis subcellular fractions. Five characterized Y. pestis iron/siderophore acquisition systems (Ybt, Yfe, Yfu, Yiu and Hmu) and a putative iron/chelate outer membrane receptor (Y0850) were increased in abundance in iron-starved cells. The iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster assembly system Suf, adapted to oxidative stress and iron starvation in E. coli, was also more abundant, suggesting functional activity of Suf in Y. pestis under iron-limiting conditions. Metabolic and reactive oxygen-deactivating enzymes dependent on Fe-S clusters or other iron cofactors were decreased in abundance in iron-depleted cells. This data was consistent with lower activities of aconitase and catalase in iron-starved vs. iron-rich cells. In contrast, pyruvate oxidase B which metabolizes pyruvate via electron transfer to ubiquinone-8 for direct utilization in the respiratory chain was strongly increased in abundance and activity in iron-depleted cells.
Conclusions
Many protein abundance differences were indicative of the important regulatory role of the ferric uptake regulator Fur. Iron deficiency seems to result in a coordinated shift from iron-utilizing to iron-independent biochemical pathways in the cytoplasm of Y. pestis. With growth temperature as an additional variable in proteomic comparisons of the Y. pestis fractions (26°C and 37°C), there was little evidence for temperature-specific adaptation processes to iron starvation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-30
PMCID: PMC2835676  PMID: 20113483
9.  Comparison of two label-free global quantitation methods, APEX and 2D gel electrophoresis, applied to the Shigella dysenteriae proteome 
Proteome Science  2009;7:22.
The in vitro stationary phase proteome of the human pathogen Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) was quantitatively analyzed in Coomassie Blue G250 (CBB)-stained 2D gels. More than four hundred and fifty proteins, of which 271 were associated with distinct gel spots, were identified. In parallel, we employed 2D-LC-MS/MS followed by the label-free computationally modified spectral counting method APEX for absolute protein expression measurements. Of the 4502 genome-predicted SD1 proteins, 1148 proteins were identified with a false positive discovery rate of 5% and quantitated using 2D-LC-MS/MS and APEX. The dynamic range of the APEX method was approximately one order of magnitude higher than that of CBB-stained spot intensity quantitation. A squared Pearson correlation analysis revealed a reasonably good correlation (R2 = 0.67) for protein quantities surveyed by both methods. The correlation was decreased for protein subsets with specific physicochemical properties, such as low Mr values and high hydropathy scores. Stoichiometric ratios of subunits of protein complexes characterized in E. coli were compared with APEX quantitative ratios of orthologous SD1 protein complexes. A high correlation was observed for subunits of soluble cellular protein complexes in several cases, demonstrating versatile applications of the APEX method in quantitative proteomics.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-7-22
PMCID: PMC2716310  PMID: 19563668
10.  Integral and peripheral association of proteins and protein complexes with Yersinia pestis inner and outer membranes 
Proteome Science  2009;7:5.
Yersinia pestis proteins were sequentially extracted from crude membranes with a high salt buffer (2.5 M NaBr), an alkaline solution (180 mM Na2CO3, pH 11.3) and membrane denaturants (8 M urea, 2 M thiourea and 1% amidosulfobetaine-14). Separation of proteins by 2D gel electrophoresis was followed by identification of more than 600 gene products by MS. Data from differential 2D gel display experiments, comparing protein abundances in cytoplasmic, periplasmic and all three membrane fractions, were used to assign proteins found in the membrane fractions to three protein categories: (i) integral membrane proteins and peripheral membrane proteins with low solubility in aqueous solutions (220 entries); (ii) peripheral membrane proteins with moderate to high solubility in aqueous solutions (127 entries); (iii) cytoplasmic or ribosomal membrane-contaminating proteins (80 entries). Thirty-one proteins were experimentally associated with the outer membrane (OM). Circa 50 proteins thought to be part of membrane-localized, multi-subunit complexes were identified in high Mr fractions of membrane extracts via size exclusion chromatography. This data supported biologically meaningful assignments of many proteins to the membrane periphery. Since only 32 inner membrane (IM) proteins with two or more predicted transmembrane domains (TMDs) were profiled in 2D gels, we resorted to a proteomic analysis by 2D-LC-MS/MS. Ninety-four additional IM proteins with two or more TMDs were identified. The total number of proteins associated with Y. pestis membranes increased to 456 and included representatives of all six β-barrel OM protein families and 25 distinct IM transporter families.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-7-5
PMCID: PMC2663777  PMID: 19228400

Results 1-10 (10)