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1.  Immunodepletion Plasma Proteomics by TripleTOF 5600 and Orbitrap Elite/LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Q Exactive Mass Spectrometers 
Journal of proteome research  2013;12(10):10.1021/pr400307u.
Plasma proteomic experiments performed rapidly and economically using several of the latest high-resolution mass spectrometers were compared. Four quantitative hyperfractionated plasma proteomics experiments were analyzed in replicates by two AB SCIEX TripleTOF 5600 and three Thermo Scientific Orbitrap (Elite/LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Q Exactive) instruments. Each experiment compared two iTRAQ isobaric-labeled immunodepleted plasma proteomes, provided as 30 labeled peptide fractions. 480 LC-MS/MS runs delivered >250 GB of data in two months. Several analysis algorithms were compared. At 1 % false discovery rate, the relative comparative findings concluded that the Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Mass Spectrometer resulted in the highest number of identified proteins and unique sequences with iTRAQ quantitation. The confidence of iTRAQ fold-change for each protein is dependent on the overall ion statistics (Mascot Protein Score) attainable by each instrument. The benchmarking also suggested how to further improve the mass spectrometry parameters and HPLC conditions. Our findings highlight the special challenges presented by the low abundance peptide ions of iTRAQ plasma proteome because the dynamic range of plasma protein abundance is uniquely high compared with cell lysates, necessitating high instrument sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3817719  PMID: 24004147
immunodepletion; Seppro; IgY14; iTRAQ; EMMOL normalization; TripleTOF; Orbitrap; Q Exactive
2.  Cyclic Rhamnosylated Elongation Factor P Establishes Antibiotic Resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
mBio  2015;6(3):e00823-15.
Elongation factor P (EF-P) is a ubiquitous bacterial protein that is required for the synthesis of poly-proline motifs during translation. In Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica, the posttranslational β-lysylation of Lys34 by the PoxA protein is critical for EF-P activity. PoxA is absent from many bacterial species such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, prompting a search for alternative EF-P posttranslation modification pathways. Structural analyses of P. aeruginosa EF-P revealed the attachment of a single cyclic rhamnose moiety to an Arg residue at a position equivalent to that at which β-Lys is attached to E. coli EF-P. Analysis of the genomes of organisms that both lack poxA and encode an Arg32-containing EF-P revealed a highly conserved glycosyltransferase (EarP) encoded at a position adjacent to efp. EF-P proteins isolated from P. aeruginosa ΔearP, or from a ΔrmlC::acc1 strain deficient in dTDP-l-rhamnose biosynthesis, were unmodified. In vitro assays confirmed the ability of EarP to use dTDP-l-rhamnose as a substrate for the posttranslational glycosylation of EF-P. The role of rhamnosylated EF-P in translational control was investigated in P. aeruginosa using a Pro4-green fluorescent protein (Pro4GFP) in vivo reporter assay, and the fluorescence was significantly reduced in Δefp, ΔearP, and ΔrmlC::acc1 strains. ΔrmlC::acc1, ΔearP, and Δefp strains also displayed significant increases in their sensitivities to a range of antibiotics, including ertapenem, polymyxin B, cefotaxim, and piperacillin. Taken together, our findings indicate that posttranslational rhamnosylation of EF-P plays a key role in P. aeruginosa gene expression and survival.
Infections with pathogenic Salmonella, E. coli, and Pseudomonas isolates can all lead to infectious disease with potentially fatal sequelae. EF-P proteins contribute to the pathogenicity of the causative agents of these and other diseases by controlling the translation of proteins critical for modulating antibiotic resistance, motility, and other traits that play key roles in establishing virulence. In Salmonella spp. and E. coli, the attachment of β-Lys is required for EF-P activity, but the proteins required for this posttranslational modification pathway are absent from many organisms. Instead, bacteria such as P. aeruginosa activate EF-P by posttranslational modification with rhamnose, revealing a new role for protein glycosylation that may also prove useful as a target for the development of novel antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC4471567  PMID: 26060278
3.  Identification of an Atypical Calcium-Dependent Calmodulin Binding Site on the C-terminal domain of GluN2A 
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are calcium-permeable ion channels assembled from four subunits that each have a common membrane topology. The intracellular carboxyl terminal domain (CTD) of each subunit varies in length, is least conserved between subunits, and binds multiple intracellular proteins. We defined a region of interest in the GluN2A CTD, downstream of well-characterized membrane-proximal motifs, that shares only 29% sequence similarity with the equivalent region of GluN2B. GluN2A (amino acids 875-1029) was fused to GST and used as a bait to identify proteins from mouse brain with the potential to bind GluN2A as a function of calcium. Using mass spectrometry we identified calmodulin as a calcium-dependent GluN2A binding partner. Equilibrium fluorescence spectroscopy experiments indicate that Ca2+/calmodulin binds GluN2A with high affinity (5.2 ± 2.4 nM) in vitro. Direct interaction of Ca2+/calmodulin with GluN2A was not affected by disruption of classic sequence motifs associated with Ca2+/calmodulin target recognition, but was critically dependent upon Trp-1014. These findings provide new insight into the potential of Ca2+/calmodulin, previously considered a GluN1-binding partner, to influence NMDA receptors by direct association.
PMCID: PMC4385326  PMID: 24491550
Calmodulin; calcium; NMDA; glutamate
4.  Aberrant Glycosylation of Plasma Proteins in Severe Preeclampsia Promotes Monocyte Adhesion 
Reproductive Sciences  2014;21(2):204-214.
Glycosylation of plasma proteins increases during pregnancy. Our objectives were to investigate an anti-inflammatory role of these proteins in normal pregnancies and determine whether aberrant protein glycosylation promotes monocyte adhesion in preeclampsia. Plasma was prospectively collected from nonpregnant controls and nulliparous patients in all 3 trimesters. Patients were divided into cohorts based on the applicable postpartum diagnosis. U937 monocytes were preconditioned with enzymatically deglycosylated plasma, and monocyte adhesion to endothelial cell monolayers was quantified by spectrophotometry. Plasma from nonpregnant controls, first trimester normotensives, and first trimester patients with mild preeclampsia inhibited monocyte–endothelial cell adhesion (P < .05), but plasma from first trimester patients with severe preeclampsia and second and third trimester normotensives did not. Deglycosylating plasma proteins significantly increased adhesion in all the cohorts. These results support a role of plasma glycoprotein interaction in monocyte–endothelial cell adhesion and could suggest a novel therapeutic target for severe preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3879990  PMID: 23757314
adhesion; glycosylation; monocyte; pregnancy; severe preeclampsia
5.  A multiplex targeted proteomic assay for biomarker detection in plasma: a pancreatic cancer biomarker case study 
Journal of Proteome Research  2012;11(3):1937-1948.
Biomarkers are most frequently proteins that are measured in the blood. Their development largely relies on antibody creation to test the protein candidate performance in blood samples of diseased versus non-diseased patients. The creation of such antibody assays has been a bottleneck in biomarker progress due to the cost, extensive time and effort required to complete the task. Targeted proteomics is an emerging technology that is playing an increasingly important role to facilitate disease biomarker development. In this study, we applied a SRM-based targeted proteomics platform to directly detect candidate biomarker proteins in plasma to evaluate their clinical utility for pancreatic cancer detection. The characterization of these protein candidates used a clinically well-characterized cohort that included plasma samples from patients with pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis and healthy age-matched controls. Three of the five candidate proteins, including gelsolin, lumican and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1, demonstrated an AUC value greater than 0.75 in distinguishing pancreatic cancer from the controls. In addition, we provide an analysis of the reproducibility, accuracy, and robustness of the SRM-based proteomics platform. This information addresses important technical issues that could aid in the adoption of the targeted proteomics platform for practical clinical utility.
PMCID: PMC3292708  PMID: 22316387
Targeted proteomics; Mass spectrometer; Selected reaction monitoring (SRM); Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM); Pancreas; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Pancreatic cancer; Chronic pancreatitis; Biomarker; Plasma
6.  A targeted proteomics–based pipeline for verification of biomarkers in plasma 
Nature biotechnology  2011;29(7):625-634.
High-throughput technologies can now identify hundreds of candidate protein biomarkers for any disease with relative ease. However, because there are no assays for the majority of proteins and de novo immunoassay development is prohibitively expensive, few candidate biomarkers are tested in clinical studies. We tested whether the analytical performance of a biomarker identification pipeline based on targeted mass spectrometry would be sufficient for data-dependent prioritization of candidate biomarkers, de novo development of assays and multiplexed biomarker verification. We used a data-dependent triage process to prioritize a subset of putative plasma biomarkers from >1,000 candidates previously identified using a mouse model of breast cancer. Eighty-eight novel quantitative assays based on selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry were developed, multiplexed and evaluated in 80 plasma samples. Thirty-six proteins were verified as being elevated in the plasma of tumor-bearing animals. The analytical performance of this pipeline suggests that it should support the use of an analogous approach with human samples.
PMCID: PMC3232032  PMID: 21685906
7.  Dynamic changes in histone acetylation regulate origins of DNA replication 
While histone modifications have been implicated in many DNA-dependent processes, their precise role in DNA replication remains largely unknown. Here, we describe a very efficient, single-step method to specifically purify histones located around an origin of replication from S. cerevisiae. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we have obtained a comprehensive view of the histone modifications surrounding the origin of replication throughout the cell cycle. We have discovered that histone H3 and H4 acetylation is dynamically regulated around an origin of replication, at the level of multiply-acetylated histones. Furthermore, we find that this acetylation is required for efficient origin activation during S-phase.
PMCID: PMC3060656  PMID: 20228802
DNA replication; histone modifications; mass spectrometry
8.  Ubiquitin-proteasome mediated synaptic reorganization - a novel mechanism underlying rapid ischemic tolerance 
Ischemic tolerance is an endogenous neuroprotective mechanism in brain and other organs, whereby prior exposure to brief ischemia produces resilience to subsequent normally injurious ischemia. While many molecular mechanisms mediate delayed (gene-mediated) ischemic tolerance, the mechanisms underlying rapid (protein synthesis independent) ischemic tolerance are relatively unknown. Here we describe a novel mechanism for the induction of rapid ischemic tolerance mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Rapid ischemic tolerance is blocked by multiple proteasome inhibitors (MG132, MG115 and clasto-lactacystin β-lactone). A proteomics strategy was used to identify ubiquitinated proteins following preconditioning ischemia. We focused our studies on two actin binding proteins of the post synaptic density that were ubiquitinated following rapid preconditioning: myristoylated, alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS) and fascin. Immunoblots confirm the degradation of MARCKS and fascin following preconditioning ischemia. The loss of actin binding proteins promotes actin reorganization in the post synaptic density and transient retraction of dendritic spines. This rapid and reversible synaptic remodeling reduces NMDA-mediated electrophysiological responses and renders the cells refractory to NMDA receptor-mediated toxicity. The dendritic spine retraction and NMDA-neuroprotection following preconditioning ischemia are blocked by actin stabilization with jasplakinolide, as well as proteasome inhibition with MG132. Taken together these data suggest that rapid tolerance results from changes to the post-synaptic density mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, rendering neurons resistant to excitotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC2946223  PMID: 18171922
Ischemia; Actin; NMDA; Proteasome; dendritic spines; ubiquitin
9.  Proteomic analysis of native metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 protein complexes reveals novel molecular constituents 
Journal of neurochemistry  2004;91(2):438-450.
We used a proteomic approach to identify novel proteins that may regulate metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) responses by direct or indirect protein interactions. This approach does not rely on the heterologous expression of proteins and offers the advantage of identifying protein interactions in a native environment. The mGluR5 protein was immunoprecipitated from rat brain lysates; co-immunoprecipitating proteins were analyzed by mass spectrometry and identified peptides were matched to protein databases to determine the correlating parent proteins. This proteomic approach revealed the interaction of mGluR5 with known regulatory proteins, as well as novel proteins that reflect previously unidentified molecular constituents of the mGluR5-signaling complex. Immunoblot analysis confirmed the interaction of high confidence proteins, such as phosphofurin acidic cluster sorting protein 1, microtubule-associated protein 2a and dynamin 1, as mGluR5-interacting proteins. These studies show that a proteomic approach can be used to identify candidate interacting proteins. This approach may be particularly useful for neurobiology applications where distinct protein interactions within a signaling complex can dramatically alter the outcome of the response to neurotransmitter release, or the disruption of normal protein interactions can lead to severe neurological and psychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC2747775  PMID: 15447677
mass spectrometry; metabotropic glutamate receptor; protein interaction; proteomics
10.  The Standard Protein Mix Database: A Diverse Dataset to Assist in the Production of Improved Peptide and Protein Identification Software Tools 
Journal of proteome research  2007;7(1):96-103.
Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is frequently used in the identification of peptides and proteins. Typical proteomic experiments rely on algorithms such as SEQUEST and MASCOT to compare thousands of tandem mass spectra against the theoretical fragment ion spectra of peptides in a database. The probabilities that these spectrum-to-sequence assignments are correct can be determined by statistical software such as PeptideProphet or through estimations based on reverse or decoy databases. However, many of the software applications that assign probabilities for MS/MS spectra to sequence matches were developed using training datasets from 3D ion-trap mass spectrometers. Given the variety of types of mass spectrometers that have become commercially available over the last five years, we sought to generate a dataset of reference data covering multiple instrumentation platforms to facilitate both the refinement of existing computational approaches and the development of novel software tools. We analyzed the proteolytic peptides in a mixture of tryptic digests of 18 proteins, named the “ISB standard protein mix”, using 8 different mass spectrometers. These include linear and 3D ion traps, two quadrupole time-of-flight platforms (qq-TOF) and two MALDI-TOF-TOF platforms. The resulting dataset, which has been named the Standard Protein Mix Database, consists of over 1.1 million spectra in 150+ replicate runs on the mass spectrometers. The data were inspected for quality of separation and searched using SEQUEST. All data, including the native raw instrument and mzXML formats and the PeptideProphet validated peptide assignments, are available at
PMCID: PMC2577160  PMID: 17711323
Proteomics; reference dataset; database search software; standard protein mix; Standard Protein Mix Database
11.  Phosphorylation at S365 is a gatekeeper event that changes the structure of Cx43 and prevents down-regulation by PKC 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(6):1301-1309.
Phosphorylation at unspecified sites is known to regulate the life cycle (assembly, gating, and turnover) of the gap junction protein, Cx43. In this paper, we show that Cx43 is phosphorylated on S365 in cultured cells and heart tissue. Nuclear magnetic resonance structural studies of the C-terminal region of Cx43 with an S365D mutation indicate that it forms a different stable conformation than unphosphorylated wild-type Cx43. Immunolabeling with an antibody specific for Cx43 phosphorylated at S365 shows staining on gap junction structures in heart tissue that is lost upon hypoxia when Cx43 is no longer specifically localized to the intercalated disk. Efficient phosphorylation at S368, an important Cx43 channel regulatory event that increases during ischemia or PKC activation, depends on S365 being unphosphorylated. Thus, phosphorylation at S365 can serve a “gatekeeper” function that may represent a mechanism to protect cells from ischemia and phorbol ester-induced down-regulation of channel conductance.
PMCID: PMC2140020  PMID: 18086922
12.  Comparison of ESI MS Interfaces for the Analysis of UV-crosslinked Peptide-Nucleic Acid Complexes 
In this report, the effectiveness of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in conjunction with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) is examined as a tool for identifying the sites of crosslinking in a protein that has been photoreacted with a non-photolabeled oligonucleotide. ESI-MS and MALDI-MS analyses preceded by off-line microflow and nanoflow HPLC, on-line microflow HPLC/ESI, and on-line nanoflow HPLC/ESI interfaces were performed in order to determine their relative effectiveness in separating mixtures of nucleopeptides and identifying sites of crosslinking on the individual components. The characteristics of these four techniques as well as possibilities for improving the analysis of nucleopeptides by ESI MS are compared and discussed.
PMCID: PMC2238692  PMID: 18042442
13.  Methodologies for Characterizing Phosphoproteins by Mass Spectrometry 
Cell communication & adhesion  2006;13(5-6):249-262.
PMCID: PMC2185548  PMID: 17162667
Phosphorylation; Mass spectrometry; Kinase; Sequencing
14.  NFX1-123 and Poly(A) Binding Proteins Synergistically Augment Activation of Telomerase in Human Papillomavirus Type 16 E6-Expressing Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(8):3786-3796.
Overcoming senescence signals in somatic cells is critical to cellular immortalization and carcinogenesis. High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) can immortalize epithelial cells in culture through degradation of the retinoblastoma protein by HPV E7 and activation of hTERT transcription, the catalytic subunit of telomerase, by the heterodimer HPV E6/E6-associated protein (E6AP). Recent work in our laboratory identified a novel repressor of hTERT transcription, NFX1-91, which is targeted for ubiquitin-mediated degradation by HPV type 16 (HPV16) E6/E6AP. In contrast, NFX1-123, a splice variant NFX1, increased expression from an hTERT promoter that was activated by HPV16 E6/E6AP. Here, we show that HPV16 E6 bound both NFX1-91 and NFX1-123 through the common central domain of NFX1 in the absence of E6AP. NFX1-123 positively regulated hTERT expression, as its knockdown decreased hTERT mRNA levels and telomerase activity and its overexpression increased telomerase activity. We identified new protein partners of NFX1-123, including several cytoplasmic poly(A) binding proteins (PABPCs) that interacted with NFX1-123 through its N-terminal PAM2 motif, a protein domain characteristic of other PABPC protein partners. Furthermore, NFX1-123 and PABPCs together had a synergistic stimulatory effect on hTERT-regulated reporter assays. The data suggest that NFX1-123 is integral to hTERT regulation in HPV16 E6-expressing epithelial cells and that the interaction between NFX1-123 and PABPCs is critical to hTERT activity.
PMCID: PMC1866132  PMID: 17267499

Results 1-14 (14)