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1.  Analysis of the Proteome of Intracellular Shigella flexneri Reveals Pathways Important for Intracellular Growth 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(12):4635-4648.
Global proteomic analysis was performed with Shigella flexneri strain 2457T in association with three distinct growth environments: S. flexneri growing in broth (in vitro), S. flexneri growing within epithelial cell cytoplasm (intracellular), and S. flexneri that were cultured with, but did not invade, Henle cells (extracellular). Compared to in vitro and extracellular bacteria, intracellular bacteria had increased levels of proteins required for invasion and cell-to-cell spread, including Ipa, Mxi, and Ics proteins. Changes in metabolic pathways in response to the intracellular environment also were evident. There was an increase in glycogen biosynthesis enzymes, altered expression of sugar transporters, and a reduced amount of the carbon storage regulator CsrA. Mixed acid fermentation enzymes were highly expressed intracellularly, while tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle oxidoreductive enzymes and most electron transport chain proteins, except CydAB, were markedly decreased. This suggested that fermentation and the CydAB system primarily sustain energy generation intracellularly. Elevated levels of PntAB, which is responsible for NADPH regeneration, suggested a shortage of reducing factors for ATP synthesis. These metabolic changes likely reflect changes in available carbon sources, oxygen levels, and iron availability. Intracellular bacteria showed strong evidence of iron starvation. Iron acquisition systems (Iut, Sit, FhuA, and Feo) and the iron starvation, stress-associated Fe-S cluster assembly (Suf) protein were markedly increased in abundance. Mutational analysis confirmed that the mixed-acid fermentation pathway was required for wild-type intracellular growth and spread of S. flexneri. Thus, iron stress and changes in carbon metabolism may be key factors in the S. flexneri transition from the extra- to the intracellular milieu.
PMCID: PMC3837999  PMID: 24101689
2.  Novel Burkholderia mallei Virulence Factors Linked to Specific Host-Pathogen Protein Interactions* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2013;12(11):3036-3051.
Burkholderia mallei is an infectious intracellular pathogen whose virulence and resistance to antibiotics makes it a potential bioterrorism agent. Given its genetic origin as a commensal soil organism, it is equipped with an extensive and varied set of adapted mechanisms to cope with and modulate host-cell environments. One essential virulence mechanism constitutes the specialized secretion systems that are designed to penetrate host-cell membranes and insert pathogen proteins directly into the host cell's cytosol. However, the secretion systems' proteins and, in particular, their host targets are largely uncharacterized. Here, we used a combined in silico, in vitro, and in vivo approach to identify B. mallei proteins required for pathogenicity. We used bioinformatics tools, including orthology detection and ab initio predictions of secretion system proteins, as well as published experimental Burkholderia data to initially select a small number of proteins as putative virulence factors. We then used yeast two-hybrid assays against normalized whole human and whole murine proteome libraries to detect and identify interactions among each of these bacterial proteins and host proteins. Analysis of such interactions provided both verification of known virulence factors and identification of three new putative virulence proteins. We successfully created insertion mutants for each of these three proteins using the virulent B. mallei ATCC 23344 strain. We exposed BALB/c mice to mutant strains and the wild-type strain in an aerosol challenge model using lethal B. mallei doses. In each set of experiments, mice exposed to mutant strains survived for the 21-day duration of the experiment, whereas mice exposed to the wild-type strain rapidly died. Given their in vivo role in pathogenicity, and based on the yeast two-hybrid interaction data, these results point to the importance of these pathogen proteins in modulating host ubiquitination pathways, phagosomal escape, and actin-cytoskeleton rearrangement processes.
PMCID: PMC3820922  PMID: 23800426
3.  Proteomic View of Interactions of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli with the Intestinal Environment in Gnotobiotic Piglets 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66462.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3686733  PMID: 23840478
4.  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 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3511201  PMID: 22929533
Bacteriuria; Urine; Catheter; Neuropathic; Bladder; Microbiome; Metaproteome; Next-generation; Personalized; rRNA
5.  Development stage-specific proteomic profiling uncovers small, lineage specific proteins most abundant in the Aspergillus Fumigatus conidial proteome 
Proteome Science  2012;10:30.
The pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus is the most frequent infectious cause of death in severely immunocompromised individuals such as leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Germination of inhaled conidia (asexual spores) in the host is critical for the initiation of infection, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms of this process.
To gain insights into early germination events and facilitate the identification of potential stage-specific biomarkers and vaccine candidates, we have used quantitative shotgun proteomics to elucidate patterns of protein abundance changes during early fungal development. Four different stages were examined: dormant conidia, isotropically expanding conidia, hyphae in which germ tube emergence has just begun, and pre-septation hyphae. To enrich for glycan-linked cell wall proteins we used an alkaline cell extraction method. Shotgun proteomic resulted in the identification of 375 unique gene products with high confidence, with no evidence for enrichment of cell wall-immobilized and secreted proteins. The most interesting discovery was the identification of 52 proteins enriched in dormant conidia including 28 proteins that have never been detected in the A. fumigatus conidial proteome such as signaling protein Pil1, chaperones BipA and calnexin, and transcription factor HapB. Additionally we found many small, Aspergillus specific proteins of unknown function including 17 hypothetical proteins. Thus, the most abundant protein, Grg1 (AFUA_5G14210), was also one of the smallest proteins detected in this study (M.W. 7,367). Among previously characterized proteins were melanin pigment and pseurotin A biosynthesis enzymes, histones H3 and H4.1, and other proteins involved in conidiation and response to oxidative or hypoxic stress. In contrast, expanding conidia, hyphae with early germ tubes, and pre-septation hyphae samples were enriched for proteins responsible for housekeeping functions, particularly translation, respiratory metabolism, amino acid and carbohydrate biosynthesis, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle.
The observed temporal expression patterns suggest that the A. fumigatus conidia are dominated by small, lineage-specific proteins. Some of them may play key roles in host-pathogen interactions, signal transduction during conidial germination, or survival in hostile environments.
PMCID: PMC3424117  PMID: 22545825
Mass spectrometry; LC-MS/MS; APEX; Shotgun proteomics; Aspergillus fumigatus; Germination; Spore; Conidia; Fungi; Hypothetical proteins
6.  Characterizing the Escherichia coli O157:H7 Proteome Including Protein Associations with Higher Order Assemblies 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26554.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3210124  PMID: 22087229
7.  In vivo versus in vitro protein abundance analysis of Shigella dysenteriae type 1 reveals changes in the expression of proteins involved in virulence, stress and energy metabolism 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:147.
Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) causes the most severe form of epidemic bacillary dysentery. Quantitative proteome profiling of Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) in vitro (derived from LB cell cultures) and in vivo (derived from gnotobiotic piglets) was performed by 2D-LC-MS/MS and APEX, a label-free computationally modified spectral counting methodology.
Overall, 1761 proteins were quantitated at a 5% FDR (false discovery rate), including 1480 and 1505 from in vitro and in vivo samples, respectively. Identification of 350 cytoplasmic membrane and outer membrane (OM) proteins (38% of in silico predicted SD1 membrane proteome) contributed to the most extensive survey of the Shigella membrane proteome reported so far. Differential protein abundance analysis using statistical tests revealed that SD1 cells switched to an anaerobic energy metabolism under in vivo conditions, resulting in an increase in fermentative, propanoate, butanoate and nitrate metabolism. Abundance increases of transcription activators FNR and Nar supported the notion of a switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration in the host gut environment. High in vivo abundances of proteins involved in acid resistance (GadB, AdiA) and mixed acid fermentation (PflA/PflB) indicated bacterial survival responses to acid stress, while increased abundance of oxidative stress proteins (YfiD/YfiF/SodB) implied that defense mechanisms against oxygen radicals were mobilized. Proteins involved in peptidoglycan turnover (MurB) were increased, while β-barrel OM proteins (OmpA), OM lipoproteins (NlpD), chaperones involved in OM protein folding pathways (YraP, NlpB) and lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis (Imp) were decreased, suggesting unexpected modulations of the outer membrane/peptidoglycan layers in vivo. Several virulence proteins of the Mxi-Spa type III secretion system and invasion plasmid antigens (Ipa proteins) required for invasion of colonic epithelial cells, and release of bacteria into the host cell cytosol were increased in vivo.
Global proteomic profiling of SD1 comparing in vivo vs. in vitro proteomes revealed differential expression of proteins geared towards survival of the pathogen in the host gut environment, including increased abundance of proteins involved in anaerobic energy respiration, acid resistance and virulence. The immunogenic OspC2, OspC3 and IpgA virulence proteins were detected solely under in vivo conditions, lending credence to their candidacy as potential vaccine targets.
PMCID: PMC3136414  PMID: 21702961
8.  Using chemical derivatization and mass spectrometric analysis to characterize the post-translationally modified Staphylococcus aureus surface protein G 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1804(6):1394-1404.
The Staphylococcus aureus surface protein G (SasG) is an important mediator of biofilm formation in virulent S. aureus strains. A detailed analysis of its primary sequence has not been reported to date. SasG is highly abundant in the cell wall of the vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus strain HIP5827, and was purified and subjected to sequence analysis by MS. Data from MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS experiments confirmed the predicted N-terminal signal peptide cleavage site at residue A51 and the C-terminal cell wall anchor site at residue T1086. The protein was also derivatized with N-succinimidyloxycarbonyl-methyl-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl) phosphonium bromide (TMPP-Ac-OSu) to assess the presence of additional N-terminal sites of mature SasG. TMPP-derivatized SasG peptides featured m/z peaks with a 572 Da mass increase over the equivalent underivatized peptides. Multiple N-terminal peptides, all of which were observed in the 150 amino acid segment following the signal peptide cleavage at the residue A51, were characterized from MS and MS/MS data, suggesting a series of successive N-terminal truncations of SasG. A strategy combining TMPP derivatization, multiple enzyme digestions to generate overlapping peptides and detailed MS analysis will be useful to determine and understand functional implications of PTMs in bacterial cell wall-anchored proteins, which are frequently involved in the modulation of virulence-associated bacterial surface properties.
PMCID: PMC2850058  PMID: 20176147
N-terminal truncation; TMPP labeling; multiple enzyme digestion; SasG; mass spectrometry; post-translational modifications
9.  Recombinant expression and functional analysis of proteases from Streptococcus pneumoniae, Bacillus anthracis, and Yersinia pestis 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:17.
Uncharacterized proteases naturally expressed by bacterial pathogens represents important topic in infectious disease research, because these enzymes may have critical roles in pathogenicity and cell physiology. It has been observed that cloning, expression and purification of proteases often fail due to their catalytic functions which, in turn, cause toxicity in the E. coli heterologous host.
In order to address this problem systematically, a modified pipeline of our high-throughput protein expression and purification platform was developed. This included the use of a specific E. coli strain, BL21(DE3) pLysS to tightly control the expression of recombinant proteins and various expression vectors encoding fusion proteins to enhance recombinant protein solubility. Proteases fused to large fusion protein domains, maltosebinding protein (MBP), SP-MBP which contains signal peptide at the N-terminus of MBP, disulfide oxidoreductase (DsbA) and Glutathione S-transferase (GST) improved expression and solubility of proteases. Overall, 86.1% of selected protease genes including hypothetical proteins were expressed and purified using a combination of five different expression vectors. To detect novel proteolytic activities, zymography and fluorescence-based assays were performed and the protease activities of more than 46% of purified proteases and 40% of hypothetical proteins that were predicted to be proteases were confirmed.
Multiple expression vectors, employing distinct fusion tags in a high throughput pipeline increased overall success rates in expression, solubility and purification of proteases. The combinatorial functional analysis of the purified proteases using fluorescence assays and zymography confirmed their function.
PMCID: PMC3113736  PMID: 21545736
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC3001339  PMID: 19813213
acid stress; bacillary dysentery; proteome analysis; Shigella dysenteriae
11.  A proteogenomic update to Yersinia: enhancing genome annotation 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:460.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3091656  PMID: 20687929
12.  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.
PMCID: PMC2860289  PMID: 20428468
Alkaline membrane extraction; deamidation; membrane proteome; spot train; two-dimensional gel electrophoresis
13.  Proteomic analysis of iron acquisition, metabolic and regulatory responses of Yersinia pestis to iron starvation 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:30.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2835676  PMID: 20113483
14.  High quality protein microarray using in situ protein purification 
BMC Biotechnology  2009;9:72.
In the postgenomic era, high throughput protein expression and protein microarray technologies have progressed markedly permitting screening of therapeutic reagents and discovery of novel protein functions. Hexa-histidine is one of the most commonly used fusion tags for protein expression due to its small size and convenient purification via immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). This purification process has been adapted to the protein microarray format, but the quality of in situ His-tagged protein purification on slides has not been systematically evaluated. We established methods to determine the level of purification of such proteins on metal chelate-modified slide surfaces. Optimized in situ purification of His-tagged recombinant proteins has the potential to become the new gold standard for cost-effective generation of high-quality and high-density protein microarrays.
Two slide surfaces were examined, chelated Cu2+ slides suspended on a polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating and chelated Ni2+ slides immobilized on a support without PEG coating. Using PEG-coated chelated Cu2+ slides, consistently higher purities of recombinant proteins were measured. An optimized wash buffer (PBST) composed of 10 mM phosphate buffer, 2.7 mM KCl, 140 mM NaCl and 0.05% Tween 20, pH 7.4, further improved protein purity levels. Using Escherichia coli cell lysates expressing 90 recombinant Streptococcus pneumoniae proteins, 73 proteins were successfully immobilized, and 66 proteins were in situ purified with greater than 90% purity. We identified several antigens among the in situ-purified proteins via assays with anti-S. pneumoniae rabbit antibodies and a human patient antiserum, as a demonstration project of large scale microarray-based immunoproteomics profiling. The methodology is compatible with higher throughput formats of in vivo protein expression, eliminates the need for resin-based purification and circumvents protein solubility and denaturation problems caused by buffer exchange steps and freeze-thaw cycles, which are associated with resin-based purification, intermittent protein storage and deposition on microarrays.
An optimized platform for in situ protein purification on microarray slides using His-tagged recombinant proteins is a desirable tool for the screening of novel protein functions and protein-protein interactions. In the context of immunoproteomics, such protein microarrays are complimentary to approaches using non-recombinant methods to discover and characterize bacterial antigens.
PMCID: PMC2746808  PMID: 19698181
15.  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.
PMCID: PMC2716310  PMID: 19563668
16.  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.
PMCID: PMC2663777  PMID: 19228400
17.  The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool: Generating protein quantitation estimates from LC-MS/MS proteomics results 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:529.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2639435  PMID: 19068132
18.  Alterations in the Rat Serum Proteome During Liver Injury from Acetaminophen Exposure 
Changes in the serum proteome were identified during early, fulminant and recovery phases of liver injury from acetaminophen in the rat. Male F344 rats received a single, non-injury dose or a high, injury-producing dose of acetaminophen for evaluation at 6 hr to 120 hr. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of immunodepleted serum separated about 800 stained proteins per sample from which differentially expressed proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Serum ALT/AST levels and histopathology revealed the greatest liver damage at 24 and 48 hr after high dose acetaminophen corresponding to the time of greatest serum protein alterations. After 24 hr, 68 serum proteins were significantly altered of which 23 proteins were increased by >5 fold and 20 proteins were newly present compared to controls. Only minimal changes in serum proteins were noted at the low dose without any histopathology. Of the 54 total protein isoforms identified by mass spectrometry, gene ontology processes for 38 unique serum proteins revealed involvement of acute phase response, coagulation, protein degradation, intermediary metabolism and various carrier proteins. Elevated serum TNFα from 24 to 48 hr suggested a mild inflammatory response accompanied by increased antioxidant capability demonstrated by increased serum catalase activity. Antibody array and ELISA analyses also showed elevation in the chemokine, MCP-1, and the metalloprotease inhibitor, TIMP-1, during this same period of liver injury. This study demonstrates that serum proteome alterations likely reflect both liver damage and a concerted, complex response of the body for organ repair and recovery during acute hepatic injury.
PMCID: PMC1892200  PMID: 16687475
ACTH18-39, adrenocorticotropic hormone fragment 18-39; ALT, alanine aminotransferase; ANIT, α-naphthylisothiocyanate; ARP3, actin related protein-3; AST, aspartate aminotransferase; BSA, bovine serum albumin; CHAPS, 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)-dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulphonate; CINC-2 and -3, Cytokine induced neutrophil chemoattractant-2 and -3; EDTA, ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid; EGTA, ethylene glycol-bis(ß-aminoethylether)-N,N,N’,N’-tetra-acetic acid; ECL, enhanced chemiluminescence; ECM, extracellular matrix; EGF-1, epidermal growth factor-1; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; EST, expressed sequence tag; GST, glutathione S-transferase; GM-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor; GRP, glucose responsive protein; HGF, hepatic growth factor; HEPES, N-2-Hydroxyethyl-piperazine-N'-2-ethane-sulfonic acid; 4-HPPD, 4- hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; ICAT, isotope coded affinity tags; IPG, immobilized pH gradients; IEF, isoelectric focusing; LC, liquid chromatography; LIX, LPS-induced C-X-C chemokine; MALDI, matrix assisted laser desorption ionization; MCP1, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; MS/MS, tandem mass spectrometry; Mr, relative molecular mass; MS, mass spectrometry; MSN, master spot number; PAGE, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; pI, isoelectric point; qRT-PCR, quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction; SDS-PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; SUMO1, small ubiquitin-like modifier-1; TIMP-1, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1; TNFα, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
19.  Biochemical Identification of a Mutated Human Melanoma Antigen Recognized by CD4+ T Cells  
CD4+ T cells play a critical role in generating and maintaining immune responses against pathogens and alloantigens, and evidence suggests an important role for them in antitumor immunity as well. Although major histocompatibility complex class II–restricted human CD4+ T cells with specific antitumor reactivities have been described, no standard method exists for cloning the recognized tumor-associated antigen (Ag). In this study, biochemical protein purification methods were used in conjunction with novel mass spectrometry sequencing techniques and molecular cloning to isolate a unique melanoma Ag recognized by a CD4+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) line. The HLA-DRβ1*0101–restricted Ag was determined to be a mutated glycolytic enzyme, triosephosphate isomerase (TPI). A C to T mutation identified by cDNA sequencing caused a Thr to Ile conversion in TPI, which could be detected in a tryptic digest of tumor-derived TPI by mass spectrometry. The Thr to Ile conversion created a neoepitope whose T cell stimulatory activity was enhanced at least 5 logs compared with the wild-type peptide. Analysis of T cell recognition of serially truncated peptides suggested that the mutated amino acid residue was a T cell receptor contact. Defining human tumor Ag recognized by T helper cells may provide important clues to designing more effective immunotherapies for cancer.
PMCID: PMC2192954  PMID: 10049939
melanoma; antigen; CD4+ T cells; HLA-DR1; triosephosphate isomerase

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