It has recently become apparent that the Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a complex macromolecular machine used by many bacterial species to inject effector proteins into eukaryotic or bacterial cells, with significant implications for virulence and interbacterial competition. “Antibacterial” T6SSs, such as the one elaborated by the opportunistic human pathogen, Serratia marcescens, confer on the secreting bacterium the ability to rapidly and efficiently kill rival bacteria. Identification of secreted substrates of the T6SS is critical to understanding its role and ability to kill other cells, but only a limited number of effectors have been reported so far. Here we report the successful use of label-free quantitative mass spectrometry to identify at least eleven substrates of the S. marcescens T6SS, including four novel effector proteins which are distinct from other T6SS-secreted proteins reported to date. These new effectors were confirmed as antibacterial toxins and self-protecting immunity proteins able to neutralize their cognate toxins were identified. The global secretomic study also unexpectedly revealed that protein phosphorylation-based post-translational regulation of the S. marcescens T6SS differs from that of the paradigm, H1-T6SS of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Combined phosphoproteomic and genetic analyses demonstrated that conserved PpkA-dependent threonine phosphorylation of the T6SS structural component Fha is required for T6SS activation in S. marcescens and that the phosphatase PppA can reverse this modification. However, the signal and mechanism of PpkA activation is distinct from that observed previously and does not appear to require cell–cell contact. Hence this study has not only demonstrated that new and species-specific portfolios of antibacterial effectors are secreted by the T6SS, but also shown for the first time that PpkA-dependent post-translational regulation of the T6SS is tailored to fit the needs of different bacterial species.
Yeast Cdc48 (p97/VCP in human cells) is a hexameric AAA ATPase that is thought to use ATP hydrolysis to power the segregation of ubiquitin-conjugated proteins from tightly bound partners. Current models posit that Cdc48 is linked to its substrates through adaptor proteins, including a family of seven proteins (13 in human) that contain a Cdc48-binding UBX domain. However, few substrates for specific UBX proteins are known, and hence the generality of this hypothesis remains untested. Here, we use mass spectrometry to identify ubiquitin conjugates that accumulate in cdc48 and ubx mutants. Different ubx mutants exhibit unique patterns of conjugate accumulation that point to functional specialization of individual Ubx proteins. To validate our findings, we examined in detail the endoplasmic reticulum-bound transcription factor Spt23, which we identified as a putative Ubx2 substrate. Mutant ubx2Δ cells are deficient in both cleaving the ubiquitinated 120 kDa precursor of Spt23 to form active p90 and in localizing p90 to the nucleus, resulting in reduced expression of the target gene OLE1, which encodes fatty acid desaturase. Our findings provide a resource for future investigations on Cdc48, illustrate the utility of proteomics to identify ligands for specific ubiquitin receptor pathways, and uncover Ubx2 as a key player in the regulation of membrane lipid biosynthesis.
Virulence of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is directly linked to the pathogen's ability to glycosylate proteins; for example, Hp flagellin proteins are heavily glycosylated with the unusual nine-carbon sugar pseudaminic acid, and this modification is absolutely essential for Hp to synthesize functional flagella and colonize the host's stomach. Although Hp's glycans are linked to pathogenesis, Hp's glycome remains poorly understood; only the two flagellin glycoproteins have been firmly characterized in Hp. Evidence from our laboratory suggests that Hp synthesizes a large number of as-yet unidentified glycoproteins. Here we set out to discover Hp's glycoproteins by coupling glycan metabolic labeling with mass spectrometry analysis. An assessment of the subcellular distribution of azide-labeled proteins by Western blot analysis indicated that glycoproteins are present throughout Hp and may therefore serve diverse functions. To identify these species, Hp's azide-labeled glycoproteins were tagged via Staudinger ligation, enriched by tandem affinity chromatography, and analyzed by multidimensional protein identification technology. Direct comparison of enriched azide-labeled glycoproteins with a mock-enriched control by both SDS-PAGE and mass spectrometry-based analyses confirmed the selective enrichment of azide-labeled glycoproteins. We identified 125 candidate glycoproteins with diverse biological functions, including those linked with pathogenesis. Mass spectrometry analyses of enriched azide-labeled glycoproteins before and after cleavage of O-linked glycans revealed the presence of Staudinger ligation-glycan adducts in samples only after beta-elimination, confirming the synthesis of O-linked glycoproteins in Hp. Finally, the secreted colonization factors urease alpha and urease beta were biochemically validated as glycosylated proteins via Western blot analysis as well as by mass spectrometry analysis of cleaved glycan products. These data set the stage for the development of glycosylation-based therapeutic strategies, such as new vaccines based on natively glycosylated Hp proteins, to eradicate Hp infection. Broadly, this report validates metabolic labeling as an effective and efficient approach for the identification of bacterial glycoproteins.
Profiling the autoantibody repertoire with large antigen collections is emerging as a powerful tool for the identification of biomarkers for autoimmune diseases. Here, a systematic and undirected approach was taken to screen for profiles of IgG in human plasma from 90 individuals with multiple sclerosis related diagnoses. Reactivity pattern of 11,520 protein fragments (representing ∼38% of all human protein encoding genes) were generated on planar protein microarrays built within the Human Protein Atlas. For more than 2,000 antigens IgG reactivity was observed, among which 64% were found only in single individuals. We used reactivity distributions among multiple sclerosis subgroups to select 384 antigens, which were then re-evaluated on planar microarrays, corroborated with suspension bead arrays in a larger cohort (n = 376) and confirmed for specificity in inhibition assays. Among the heterogeneous pattern within and across multiple sclerosis subtypes, differences in recognition frequencies were found for 51 antigens, which were enriched for proteins of transcriptional regulation. In conclusion, using protein fragments and complementary high-throughput protein array platforms facilitated an alternative route to discovery and verification of potentially disease-associated autoimmunity signatures, that are now proposed as additional antigens for large-scale validation studies across multiple sclerosis biobanks.
Protein–protein interactions organize the localization, clustering, signal transduction, and degradation of cellular proteins and are therefore implicated in numerous biological functions. These interactions are mediated by specialized domains able to bind to modified or unmodified peptides present in binding partners. Among the most broadly distributed protein interaction domains, PSD95-disc large-zonula occludens (PDZ) domains are usually able to bind carboxy-terminal sequences of their partners. In an effort to accelerate the discovery of PDZ domain interactions, we have constructed an array displaying 96% of the human PDZ domains that is amenable to rapid two-hybrid screens in yeast. We have demonstrated that this array can efficiently identify interactions using carboxy-terminal sequences of PDZ domain binders such as the E6 oncoviral protein and protein kinases (PDGFRβ, BRSK2, PCTK1, ACVR2B, and HER4); this has been validated via mass spectrometry analysis. Taking advantage of this array, we show that PDZ domains of Scrib and SNX27 bind to the carboxy-terminal region of the planar cell polarity receptor Vangl2. We also have demonstrated the requirement of Scrib for the promigratory function of Vangl2 and described the morphogenetic function of SNX27 in the early Xenopus embryo. The resource presented here is thus adapted for the screen of PDZ interactors and, furthermore, should facilitate the understanding of PDZ-mediated functions.
Molecular identification of endogenous enzymes and biologically active substances from complex biological sources remains a challenging task, and although traditional biochemical purification is sometimes regarded as outdated, it remains one of the most powerful methodologies for this purpose. While biochemical purification usually requires large amounts of starting material and many separation steps, we developed an advanced method named “proteomic correlation profiling” in our previous study. In proteomic correlation profiling, we first fractionated biological material by column chromatography, and then calculated each protein's correlation coefficient between the enzyme activity profile and protein abundance profile determined by proteomics technology toward fractions. Thereafter, we could choose possible candidates for the enzyme among proteins with a high correlation value by domain predictions using informatics tools. Ultimately, this streamlined procedure requires fewer purification steps and reduces starting materials dramatically due to low required purity compared with conventional approaches. To demonstrate the generality of this approach, we have now applied an improved workflow of proteomic correlation profiling to a drug metabolizing enzyme and successfully identified alkaline phosphatase, tissue-nonspecific isozyme (ALPL) as a phosphatase of CS-0777 phosphate (CS-0777-P), a selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 modulator with potential benefits in the treatment of autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, from human kidney extract. We identified ALPL as a candidate protein only by the 200-fold purification and only from 1 g of human kidney. The identification of ALPL as CS-0777-P phosphatase was strongly supported by a recombinant protein, and contribution of the enzyme in human kidney extract was validated by immunodepletion and a specific inhibitor. This approach can be applied to any kind of enzyme class and biologically active substance; therefore, we believe that we have provided a fast and practical option by combination of traditional biochemistry and state-of-the-art proteomic technology.
Altered plasma neutrophil microparticle levels have recently been implicated in a number of vascular and inflammatory diseases, yet our understanding of their actions is very limited. Herein, we investigate the proteome of neutrophil microparticles in order to shed light on their biological actions. Stimulation of human neutrophils, either in suspension or adherent to an endothelial monolayer, led to the production of microparticles containing >400 distinct proteins with only 223 being shared by the two subsets. For instance, postadherent microparticles were enriched in alpha-2 macroglobulin and ceruloplasmin, whereas microparticles produced by neutrophils in suspension were abundant in heat shock 70 kDa protein 1. Annexin A1 and lactotransferrin were expressed in both microparticle subsets. We next determined relative abundance of these proteins in three types of human microparticle samples: healthy volunteer plasma, plasma of septic patients and skin blister exudates finding that these proteins were differentially expressed on neutrophil microparticles from these samples reflecting in part the expression profiles we found in vitro. Functional assessment of the neutrophil microparticles subsets demonstrated that in response to direct stimulation neutrophil microparticles produced reactive oxygen species and leukotriene B4 as well as locomoted toward a chemotactic gradient. Finally, we investigated the actions of the two neutrophil microparticles subsets described herein on target cell responses. Microarray analysis with human primary endothelial cells incubated with either microparticle subset revealed a discrete modulation of endothelial cell gene expression profile. These findings demonstrate that neutrophil microparticles are heterogenous and can deliver packaged information propagating the activation status of the parent cell, potentially exerting novel and fundamental roles both under homeostatic and disease conditions.
Reverse-phase protein arrays (RPPAs) have become an important tool for the sensitive and high-throughput detection of proteins from minute amounts of lysates from cell lines and cryopreserved tissue. The current standard method for tissue preservation in almost all hospitals worldwide is formalin fixation and paraffin embedding, and it would be highly desirable if RPPA could also be applied to formalin-fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue. We investigated whether the analysis of FFPE tissue lysates with RPPA would result in biologically meaningful data in two independent studies. In the first study on breast cancer samples, we assessed whether a human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2 score based on immunohistochemistry (IHC) could be reproduced with RPPA. The results showed very good concordance between the IHC and RPPA classifications of HER2 expression. In the second study, we profiled FFPE tumor specimens from patients with adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in order to find new markers for differentiating these two subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. p21-activated kinase 2 could be identified as a new differentiation marker for squamous cell carcinoma. Overall, the results demonstrate the technical feasibility and the merits of RPPA for protein expression profiling in FFPE tissue lysates.
We previously identified a peptide aptamer (named R5G42) via functional selection for its capacity to slow cell proliferation. A yeast two-hybrid screen of human cDNA libraries, using R5G42 as “bait,” allowed the identification of two binding proteins with very different functions: calcineurin A (CnA) (PP2B/PPP3CA), a protein phosphatase well characterized for its role in the immune response, and NS5A-TP2/HD domain containing 2, a much less studied protein induced subsequent to hepatitis C virus non-structural protein 5A expression in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells, with no known activity. Our objective in the present study was to dissect the dual target specificity of R5G42 in order to have tools with which to better characterize the actions of the peptide aptamers toward their individual targets. This was achieved through the selection of random mutants of the variable loop, derived from R5G42, evaluating their specificity toward CnA and NS5A-TP2 and analyzing their sequence. An interdisciplinary approach involving biomolecular computer simulations with integration of the sequence data and yeast two-hybrid binding phenotypes of these mutants yielded two structurally distinct conformers affording the potential molecular basis of the binding diversity of R5G42. Evaluation of the biological impact of CnA- versus NS5A-TP2-specific peptide aptamers indicated that although both contributed to the anti-proliferative effect of R5G42, CnA-binding was essential to stimulate the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells, indicative of the activation of endogenous CnA. By dissecting the target specificity of R5G42, we have generated novel tools with which to study each target individually. Apta-C8 is capable of directly activating CnA independent of binding to NS5A-TP2 and will be an important tool in studying the role of CnA activation in the regulation of different signaling pathways, whereas Apta-E1 will allow dissection of the function of NS5A-TP2, serving as an example of the usefulness of peptide aptamer technology for investigating signaling pathways.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key post-transcriptional regulators that inhibit gene expression by promoting mRNA decay and/or suppressing translation. However, the relative contributions of these two mechanisms to gene repression remain controversial. Early studies favor a translational repression-centric scenario, whereas recent large-scale studies suggest a dominant role of mRNA decay in miRNA regulation. Here we generated proteomics data for nine colorectal cancer cell lines and integrated them with matched miRNA and mRNA expression data to infer and characterize miRNA-mediated regulation. Consistent with previous reports, we found that 8mer site, site positioning within 3′UTR, local AU-rich context, and additional 3′ pairing could all help boost miRNA-mediated mRNA decay. However, these sequence features were generally not correlated with increased translational repression, except for local AU-rich context. Thus the contribution of translational repression might be underestimated in recent studies in which the analyses were based primarily on the response of genes with canonical 7–8 mer sites in 3′UTRs. Indeed, we found that translational repression was involved in more than half, and played a major role in one-third of all predicted miRNA-target interactions. It was even the predominant contributor to miR-138 mediated regulation, which was further supported by the observation that differential expression of miR-138 in two genetically matched cell lines corresponded to altered protein but not mRNA abundance of most target genes. In addition, our study also provided interesting insights into colon cancer biology such as the possible contributions of miR-138 and miR-141/miR-200c in inducing specific phenotypes of SW480 and RKO cell lines, respectively.
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide despite extensive research, directly observed therapy using multidrug regimens, and the widespread use of a vaccine. The majority of patients harbor the bacterium in a state of metabolic dormancy. New drugs with novel modes of action are needed to target essential metabolic pathways in M. tuberculosis; ATP-competitive enzyme inhibitors are one such class. Previous screening efforts for ATP-competitive enzyme inhibitors identified several classes of lead compounds that demonstrated potent anti-mycobacterial efficacy as well as tolerable levels of toxicity in cell culture. In this report, a probe-based chemoproteomic approach was used to selectively profile the M. tuberculosis ATP-binding proteome in normally growing and hypoxic M. tuberculosis. From these studies, 122 ATP-binding proteins were identified in either metabolic state, and roughly 60% of these are reported to be essential for survival in vitro. These data are available through ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD000141. Protein families vital to the survival of the tubercle bacillus during hypoxia emerged from our studies. Specifically, along with members of the DosR regulon, several proteins involved in energy metabolism (Icl/Rv0468 and Mdh/Rv1240) and lipid biosynthesis (UmaA/Rv0469, DesA1/Rv0824c, and DesA2/Rv1094) were found to be differentially abundant in hypoxic versus normal growing cultures. These pathways represent a subset of proteins that may be relevant therapeutic targets for development of novel ATP-competitive antibiotics.
We report a high quality and system-wide proteome catalogue covering 71% (3,542 proteins) of the predicted genes of fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, presenting the largest protein dataset to date for this important model organism. We obtained this high proteome and peptide (11.4 peptides/protein) coverage by a combination of extensive sample fractionation, high resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry, and combined database searching using the iProphet software as part of the Trans-Proteomics Pipeline. All raw and processed data are made accessible in the S. pombe PeptideAtlas. The identified proteins showed no biases in functional properties and allowed global estimation of protein abundances. The high coverage of the PeptideAtlas allowed correlation with transcriptomic data in a system-wide manner indicating that post-transcriptional processes control the levels of at least half of all identified proteins. Interestingly, the correlation was not equally tight for all functional categories ranging from rs >0.80 for proteins involved in translation to rs <0.45 for signal transduction proteins. Moreover, many proteins involved in DNA damage repair could not be detected in the PeptideAtlas despite their high mRNA levels, strengthening the translation-on-demand hypothesis for members of this protein class. In summary, the extensive and publicly available S. pombe PeptideAtlas together with the generated proteotypic peptide spectral library will be a useful resource for future targeted, in-depth, and quantitative proteomic studies on this microorganism.
Identifying the building blocks of mammalian tissues is a precondition for understanding their function. In particular, global and quantitative analysis of the proteome of mammalian tissues would point to tissue-specific mechanisms and place the function of each protein in a whole-organism perspective. We performed proteomic analyses of 28 mouse tissues using high-resolution mass spectrometry and used a mix of mouse tissues labeled via stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture as a “spike-in” internal standard for accurate protein quantification across these tissues. We identified a total of 7,349 proteins and quantified 6,974 of them. Bioinformatic data analysis showed that physiologically related tissues clustered together and that highly expressed proteins represented the characteristic tissue functions. Tissue specialization was reflected prominently in the proteomic profiles and is apparent already in their hundred most abundant proteins. The proportion of strictly tissue-specific proteins appeared to be small. However, even proteins with household functions, such as those in ribosomes and spliceosomes, can have dramatic expression differences among tissues. We describe a computational framework with which to correlate proteome profiles with physiological functions of the tissue. Our data will be useful to the broad scientific community as an initial atlas of protein expression of a mammalian species.
Changes in glycosylation readily occur in cancer and other disease states. Thanks to recent advances in the development of analytical techniques and instrumentation, especially in mass spectrometry, it is now possible to identify blood-derived glycan-based biomarkers using glycomics strategies. This review is an overview of the developments made in the search for glycan-based cancer biomarkers and the technologies currently in use. It is anticipated that the progressing instrumental and bioinformatics developments will allow the identification of relevant glycan biomarkers for the diagnosis, early detection, and monitoring of cancer treatment with sufficient sensitivity and specificity for clinical use.
In order to successfully enter the latent stage, Mycobacterium tuberculosis must adapt to conditions such as nutrient limitation and hypoxia. In vitro models that mimic latent infection are valuable tools for describing the changes in metabolism that occur when the bacterium exists in a non-growing form. We used two complementary proteomic approaches, label-free LC-MS/MS analysis and two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis, to determine the proteome profile of extracellular proteins from M. tuberculosis cultured under nutrient starvation. Through the label-free LC-MS/MS analysis of fractionated samples, 1176 proteins were identified from culture filtrates of log phase and nutrient-starved cultures, and the protein levels of 230 proteins were increased in nutrient-starved culture filtrates, whereas those of 208 proteins were decreased. By means of Gene Ontology clustering analysis, significant differences in the overall metabolism during nutrient starvation were detected. Notably, members of the toxin–antitoxin systems were present in larger quantities in nutrient-starved cultures, supporting a role for these global modules as M. tuberculosis switches its metabolism into dormancy. Decreased abundance of proteins involved in amino acid and protein synthesis was apparent, as well as changes in the lipid metabolism. Further analysis of the dataset identified increased abundance of lipoproteins and decreased abundance of ESAT-6 family proteins. Results from the two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis proteomics demonstrated overall agreement with the LC-MS/MS data and added complementary insights about protein degradation and modification.
Previous proteomics studies have partially unraveled the complexity of endothelial protein secretion but have not investigated glycosylation, a key modification of secreted and membrane proteins for cell communication. In this study, human umbilical vein endothelial cells were kept in serum-free medium before activation by phorbol-12-myristate-13 acetate, a commonly used secretagogue that induces exocytosis of endothelial vesicles. In addition to 123 secreted proteins, the secretome was particularly rich in membrane proteins. Glycopeptides were enriched by zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography resins and were either treated with PNGase F and H218O or directly analyzed using a recently developed workflow combining higher-energy C-trap dissociation (HCD) with electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) for a hybrid linear ion trap–orbitrap mass spectrometer. After deglycosylation with PNGase F in the presence of H218O, 123 unique peptides displayed 18O-deamidation of asparagine, corresponding to 86 proteins with a total of 121 glycosylation sites. Direct glycopeptide analysis via HCD-ETD identified 131 glycopeptides from 59 proteins and 118 glycosylation sites, of which 41 were known, 51 were predicted, and 26 were novel. Two methods were compared: alternating HCD-ETD and HCD-product-dependent ETD. The former detected predominantly high-intensity, multiply charged glycopeptides, whereas the latter preferentially selected precursors with complex/hybrid glycans for fragmentation. Validation was performed by means of glycoprotein enrichment and analysis of the input, the flow-through, and the bound fraction. This study represents the most comprehensive characterization of endothelial protein secretion to date and demonstrates the potential of new HCD-ETD workflows for determining the glycosylation status of complex biological samples.
Antibody glycosylation has been shown to change with various processes. This review presents mass spectrometric approaches for antibody glycosylation analysis at the level of released glycans, glycopeptides, and intact protein. With regard to IgG fragment crystallizable glycosylation, mass spectrometry has shown its potential for subclass-specific, high-throughput analysis. In contrast, because of the vast heterogeneity of peptide moieties, fragment antigen binding glycosylation analysis of polyclonal IgG relies entirely on glycan release. Next to IgG, IgA has gained some attention, and studies of its O- and N-glycosylation have revealed disease-associated glycosylation changes. Glycoproteomic analyses of IgM and IgE are lagging behind but should complete our picture of glycosylation's influence on antibody function.
Chromatin is a highly dynamic, well-structured nucleoprotein complex of DNA and proteins that controls virtually all DNA transactions. Chromatin dynamicity is regulated at specific loci by the presence of various associated proteins, histones, post-translational modifications, histone variants, and DNA methylation. Until now the characterization of the proteomic component of chromatin domains has been held back by the challenge of enriching distinguishable, homogeneous regions for subsequent mass spectrometry analysis. Here we describe a modified protocol for chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with quantitative proteomics based on stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture to identify known and novel histone modifications, variants, and complexes that specifically associate with silent and active chromatin domains. Our chromatin proteomics strategy revealed unique functional interactions among various chromatin modifiers, suggesting new regulatory pathways, such as a heterochromatin-specific modulation of DNA damage response involving H2A.X and WICH, both enriched in silent domains. Chromatin proteomics expands the arsenal of tools for deciphering how all the distinct protein components act together to enforce a given region-specific chromatin status.
The extracellular ligand-induced extrinsic pathway of apoptosis is executed via caspase protease cascades that activate downstream effectors by means of site-directed proteolysis. Here we identify proteome changes upon the induction of apoptosis by the cytokine tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in a Jurkat T cell line. We detected caspase-dependent cleavage substrates by quantifying protein intensities before and after TRAIL induction in SDS gel slices. Apoptotic protein cleavage events are identified by a characteristic stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) ratio pattern across gel slices that results from differential migration of the cleaved and uncleaved proteins. We applied a statistical test to define apoptotic substrates in the proteome. Our approach identified more than 650 of these cleaved proteins in response to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, including many previously unknown substrates and cleavage sites. Inhibitor treatment combined with triple SILAC demonstrated that the detected cleavage events were caspase dependent. Proteins located in the lumina of organelles such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum were significantly underrepresented in the substrate population. Interestingly, caspase cleavage is generally observed in not only one but several members of stable complexes, but often with lower stoichiometry. For instance, all five proteins of the condensin I complex were cleaved upon TRAIL treatment. The apoptotic substrate proteome data can be accessed and visualized in the MaxQB database and might prove useful for basic and clinical research into TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The technology described here is extensible to a wide range of other proteolytic cleavage events.
The introduction of electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) for the mass spectrometric analysis of peptides and proteins had a dramatic impact on biological science. We now report that a wide variety of compounds, including peptides, proteins, and protein complexes, are transported directly from a solid-state small molecule matrix to gas-phase ions when placed into the vacuum of a mass spectrometer without the use of high voltage, a laser, or added heat. This ionization process produces ions having charge states similar to ESI, making the method applicable for high performance mass spectrometers designed for atmospheric pressure ionization. We demonstrate highly sensitive ionization using intermediate pressure MALDI and modified ESI sources. This matrix and vacuum assisted soft ionization method is suitable for the direct surface analysis of biological materials, including tissue, via mass spectrometry.
Protein degradation provides an important regulatory mechanism used to control cell cycle progression and many other cellular pathways. To comprehensively analyze the spatial control of protein degradation in U2OS osteosarcoma cells, we have combined drug treatment and SILAC-based quantitative mass spectrometry with subcellular and protein fractionation. The resulting data set analyzed more than 74,000 peptides, corresponding to ∼5000 proteins, from nuclear, cytosolic, membrane, and cytoskeletal compartments. These data identified rapidly degraded proteasome targets, such as PRR11 and highlighted a feedback mechanism resulting in translation inhibition, induced by blocking the proteasome. We show this is mediated by activation of the unfolded protein response. We observed compartment-specific differences in protein degradation, including proteins that would not have been characterized as rapidly degraded through analysis of whole cell lysates. Bioinformatic analysis of the entire data set is presented in the Encyclopedia of Proteome Dynamics, a web-based resource, with proteins annotated for stability and subcellular distribution.
Malaria parasites actively remodel the infected red blood cell (irbc) by exporting proteins into the host cell cytoplasm. The human parasite Plasmodium falciparum exports particularly large numbers of proteins, including proteins that establish a vesicular network allowing the trafficking of proteins onto the surface of irbcs that are responsible for tissue sequestration. Like P. falciparum, the rodent parasite P. berghei ANKA sequesters via irbc interactions with the host receptor CD36. We have applied proteomic, genomic, and reverse-genetic approaches to identify P. berghei proteins potentially involved in the transport of proteins to the irbc surface. A comparative proteomics analysis of P. berghei non-sequestering and sequestering parasites was used to determine changes in the irbc membrane associated with sequestration. Subsequent tagging experiments identified 13 proteins (Plasmodium export element (PEXEL)-positive as well as PEXEL-negative) that are exported into the irbc cytoplasm and have distinct localization patterns: a dispersed and/or patchy distribution, a punctate vesicle-like pattern in the cytoplasm, or a distinct location at the irbc membrane. Members of the PEXEL-negative BIR and PEXEL-positive Pb-fam-3 show a dispersed localization in the irbc cytoplasm, but not at the irbc surface. Two of the identified exported proteins are transported to the irbc membrane and were named erythrocyte membrane associated proteins. EMAP1 is a member of the PEXEL-negative Pb-fam-1 family, and EMAP2 is a PEXEL-positive protein encoded by a single copy gene; neither protein plays a direct role in sequestration. Our observations clearly indicate that P. berghei traffics a diverse range of proteins to different cellular locations via mechanisms that are analogous to those employed by P. falciparum. This information can be exploited to generate transgenic humanized rodent P. berghei parasites expressing chimeric P. berghei/P. falciparum proteins on the surface of rodent irbc, thereby opening new avenues for in vivo screening adjunct therapies that block sequestration.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MPK) cascades are important for eukaryotic signal transduction. They convert extracellular stimuli (e.g. some hormones, growth factors, cytokines, microbe- or damage-associated molecular patterns) into intracellular responses while at the same time amplifying the transmitting signal. By doing so, they ensure proper performance, and eventually survival, of a given organism, for example in times of stress. MPK cascades function via reversible phosphorylation of cascade components MEKKs, MEKs, and MPKs. In plants the identity of most MPK substrates remained elusive until now. Here, we provide a robust and powerful approach to identify and quantify, with high selectivity, site-specific phosphorylation of MPK substrate candidates in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Our approach represents a two-step chromatography combining phosphoprotein enrichment using Al(OH)3-based metal oxide affinity chromatography, tryptic digest of enriched phosphoproteins, and TiO2-based metal oxide affinity chromatography to enrich phosphopeptides from complex protein samples. When applied to transgenic conditional gain-of-function Arabidopsis plants supporting in planta activation of MPKs, the approach allows direct measurement and quantification ex vivo of site-specific phosphorylation of several reported and many yet unknown putative MPK substrates in just a single experiment.
Cells secrete a large number of proteins to communicate with their surroundings. Furthermore, plasma membrane proteins and intracellular proteins can be released into the extracellular space by regulated or non-regulated processes. Here, we profiled the supernatant of 11 cell lines that are representative of different stages of breast cancer development by specifically capturing N-glycosylated peptides using the N-glyco FASP technology. For accurate quantification we developed a super-SILAC mix from several labeled breast cancer cell lines and used it as an internal standard for all samples. In total, 1398 unique N-glycosylation sites were identified and quantified. Enriching for N-glycosylated peptides focused the analysis on classically secreted and membrane proteins. N-glycosylated secretome profiles correctly clustered the different cell lines to their respective cancer stage, suggesting that biologically relevant differences were detected. Five different profiles of glycoprotein dynamics during cancer development were detected, and they contained several proteins with known roles in breast cancer. We then used the super-SILAC mix in plasma, which led to the quantification of a large number of the previously identified N-glycopeptides in this important body fluid. The combination of quantifying the secretome of cancer cell lines and of human plasma with a super-SILAC approach appears to be a promising new approach for finding markers of disease.