Salinity is a major abiotic stress affecting plant growth and development. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of salt response and defense in plants will help in efforts to improve the salt tolerance of crops. Brachypodium distachyon is a new model plant for wheat, barley, and several potential biofuel grasses. In the current study, proteome and phosphoproteome changes induced by salt stress were the focus. The Bd21 leaves were initially treated with salt in concentrations ranging from 80 to 320 mm and then underwent a recovery process prior to proteome analysis. A total of 80 differentially expressed protein spots corresponding to 60 unique proteins were identified. The sample treated with a median salt level of 240 mm and the control were selected for phosphopeptide purification using TiO2 microcolumns and LC-MS/MS for phosphoproteome analysis to identify the phosphorylation sites and phosphoproteins. A total of 1509 phosphoproteins and 2839 phosphorylation sites were identified. Among them, 468 phosphoproteins containing 496 phosphorylation sites demonstrated significant changes at the phosphorylation level. Nine phosphorylation motifs were extracted from the 496 phosphorylation sites. Of the 60 unique differentially expressed proteins, 14 were also identified as phosphoproteins. Many proteins and phosphoproteins, as well as potential signal pathways associated with salt response and defense, were found, including three 14-3-3s (GF14A, GF14B, and 14-3-3A) for signal transduction and several ABA signal-associated proteins such as ABF2, TRAB1, and SAPK8. Finally, a schematic salt response and defense mechanism in B. distachyon was proposed.
The cell cycle checkpoint kinases play central roles in the genome maintenance of eukaryotes. Activation of the yeast checkpoint kinase Rad53 involves Rad9 or Mrc1 adaptor-mediated phospho-priming by Mec1 kinase, followed by auto-activating phosphorylation within its activation loop. However, the mechanisms by which these adaptors regulate priming phosphorylation of specific sites and how this then leads to Rad53 activation remain poorly understood. Here we used quantitative mass spectrometry to delineate the stepwise phosphorylation events in the activation of endogenous Rad53 in response to S phase alkylation DNA damage, and we show that the two Rad9 and Mrc1 adaptors, the four N-terminal Mec1-target TQ sites of Rad53 (Rad53-SCD1), and Rad53-FHA2 coordinate intimately for optimal priming phosphorylation to support substantial Rad53 auto-activation. Rad9 or Mrc1 alone can mediate surprisingly similar Mec1 target site phosphorylation patterns of Rad53, including previously undetected tri- and tetraphosphorylation of Rad53-SCD1. Reducing the number of TQ motifs turns the SCD1 into a proportionally poorer Mec1 target, which then requires the presence of both Mrc1 and Rad9 for sufficient priming and auto-activation. The phosphothreonine-interacting Rad53-FHA domains, particularly FHA2, regulate phospho-priming by interacting with the checkpoint mediators but do not seem to play a major role in the phospho-SCD1-dependent auto-activation step. Finally, mutation of all four SCD1 TQ motifs greatly reduces Rad53 activation but does not eliminate it, and residual Rad53 activity in this mutant is dependent on Rad9 but not Mrc1. Altogether, our results provide a paradigm for how phosphorylation site clusters and checkpoint mediators can be involved in the regulation of signaling relay in protein kinase cascades in vivo and elucidate an SCD1-independent Rad53 auto-activation mechanism through the Rad9 pathway. The work also demonstrates the power of mass spectrometry for in-depth analyses of molecular mechanisms in cellular signaling in vivo.
Cellular function can be controlled through the gene expression program, but often protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) provide a more precise and elegant mechanism. Key functional roles of specific modification events—for instance, during the cell cycle—have been known for decades, but only in the past 10 years has mass-spectrometry-(MS)-based proteomics begun to reveal the true extent of the PTM universe. In this overview for the special PTM issue of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, we take stock of where MS-based proteomics stands in the large-scale analysis of protein modifications. For many PTMs, including phosphorylation, ubiquitination, glycosylation, and acetylation, tens of thousands of sites can now be confidently identified and localized in the sequence of the protein. The quantification of PTM levels between different cellular states is likewise established, with label-free methods showing particular promise. It is also becoming possible to determine the absolute occupancy or stoichiometry of PTM sites on a large scale. Powerful software for the bioinformatic analysis of thousands of PTM sites has been developed. However, a complete inventory of sites has not been established for any PTM, and this situation will persist into the foreseeable future. Furthermore, although PTM coverage by MS-based methods is impressive, it still needs to be improved, especially in tissues and in clinically relevant systems. The central challenge for the field is to develop streamlined methods for determining biological functions for the myriad of modifications now known to exist.
Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has become a standard technology in metabolomics. In particular, label-free quantification based on LC-MS is easily amenable to large-scale studies and thus well suited to clinical metabolomics. Large-scale studies, however, require automated processing of the large and complex LC-MS datasets.
We present a novel algorithm for the detection of mass traces and their aggregation into features (i.e. all signals caused by the same analyte species) that is computationally efficient and sensitive and that leads to reproducible quantification results. The algorithm is based on a sensitive detection of mass traces, which are then assembled into features based on mass-to-charge spacing, co-elution information, and a support vector machine–based classifier able to identify potential metabolite isotope patterns. The algorithm is not limited to metabolites but is applicable to a wide range of small molecules (e.g. lipidomics, peptidomics), as well as to other separation technologies.
We assessed the algorithm's robustness with regard to varying noise levels on synthetic data and then validated the approach on experimental data investigating human plasma samples. We obtained excellent results in a fully automated data-processing pipeline with respect to both accuracy and reproducibility. Relative to state-of-the art algorithms, ours demonstrated increased precision and recall of the method. The algorithm is available as part of the open-source software package OpenMS and runs on all major operating systems.
We describe the comprehensive analysis of the yeast proteome in just over one hour of optimized analysis. We achieve this expedited proteome characterization with improved sample preparation, chromatographic separations, and by using a new Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer equipped with a mass filter, a collision cell, a high-field Orbitrap analyzer, and, finally, a dual cell linear ion trap analyzer (Q-OT-qIT, Orbitrap Fusion). This system offers high MS2 acquisition speed of 20 Hz and detects up to 19 peptide sequences within a single second of operation. Over a 1.3 h chromatographic method, the Q-OT-qIT hybrid collected an average of 13,447 MS1 and 80,460 MS2 scans (per run) to produce 43,400 (x̄) peptide spectral matches and 34,255 (x̄) peptides with unique amino acid sequences (1% false discovery rate (FDR)). On average, each one hour analysis achieved detection of 3,977 proteins (1% FDR). We conclude that further improvements in mass spectrometer scan rate could render comprehensive analysis of the human proteome within a few hours.
Ubiquitination is a process that involves the covalent attachment of the 76-residue ubiquitin protein through its C-terminal di-glycine (GG) to lysine (K) residues on substrate proteins. This post-translational modification elicits a wide range of functional consequences including targeting proteins for proteasomal degradation, altering subcellular trafficking events, and facilitating protein-protein interactions. A number of methods exist for identifying the sites of ubiquitination on proteins of interest, including site-directed mutagenesis and affinity-purification mass spectrometry (AP-MS). Recent publications have also highlighted the use of peptide-level immunoaffinity enrichment of K-GG modified peptides from whole cell lysates for global characterization of ubiquitination sites. Here we investigated the utility of this technique for focused mapping of ubiquitination sites on individual proteins. For a series of membrane-associated and cytoplasmic substrates including erbB-2 (HER2), Dishevelled-2 (DVL2), and T cell receptor α (TCRα), we observed that K-GG peptide immunoaffinity enrichment consistently yielded additional ubiquitination sites beyond those identified in protein level AP-MS experiments. To assess this quantitatively, SILAC-labeled lysates were prepared and used to compare the abundances of individual K-GG peptides from samples prepared in parallel. Consistently, K-GG peptide immunoaffinity enrichment yielded greater than fourfold higher levels of modified peptides than AP-MS approaches. Using this approach, we went on to characterize inducible ubiquitination on multiple members of the T-cell receptor complex that are functionally affected by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Together, these data demonstrate the utility of immunoaffinity peptide enrichment for single protein ubiquitination site analysis and provide insights into the ubiquitination of HER2, DVL2, and proteins in the T-cell receptor complex.
Surface molecules are of major importance for host-parasite interactions. During Entamoeba histolytica infections, these interactions are predicted to be of prime importance for tissue invasion, induction of colitis and liver abscess formation. To date, however, little is known about the molecules involved in these processes, with only about 20 proteins or protein families found exposed on the E. histolytica surface. We have therefore analyzed the complete surface proteome of E. histolytica. Using cell surface biotinylation and mass spectrometry, 693 putative surface-associated proteins were identified. In silico analysis predicted that ∼26% of these proteins are membrane-associated, as they contain transmembrane domains and/or signal sequences, as well as sites of palmitoylation, myristoylation, or prenylation. An additional 25% of the identified proteins likely represent nonclassical secreted proteins. Surprisingly, no membrane-association sites could be predicted for the remaining 49% of the identified proteins. To verify surface localization, 23 proteins were randomly selected and analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy. Of these 23 proteins, 20 (87%) showed definite surface localization. These findings indicate that a far greater number of E. histolytica proteins than previously supposed are surface-associated, a phenomenon that may be based on the high membrane turnover of E. histolytica.
Protein methylation is a common posttranslational modification that mostly occurs on arginine and lysine residues. Arginine methylation has been reported to regulate RNA processing, gene transcription, DNA damage repair, protein translocation, and signal transduction. Lysine methylation is best known to regulate histone function and is involved in epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. To better study protein methylation, we have developed highly specific antibodies against monomethyl arginine; asymmetric dimethyl arginine; and monomethyl, dimethyl, and trimethyl lysine motifs. These antibodies were used to perform immunoaffinity purification of methyl peptides followed by LC-MS/MS analysis to identify and quantify arginine and lysine methylation sites in several model studies. Overall, we identified over 1000 arginine methylation sites in human cell line and mouse tissues, and ∼160 lysine methylation sites in human cell line HCT116. The number of methylation sites identified in this study exceeds those found in the literature to date. Detailed analysis of arginine-methylated proteins observed in mouse brain compared with those found in mouse embryo shows a tissue-specific distribution of arginine methylation, and extends the types of proteins that are known to be arginine methylated to include many new protein types. Many arginine-methylated proteins that we identified from the brain, including receptors, ion channels, transporters, and vesicle proteins, are involved in synaptic transmission, whereas the most abundant methylated proteins identified from mouse embryo are transcriptional regulators and RNA processing proteins.
Many pathological processes are not directly correlated to dramatic alterations in protein levels. The changes in local concentrations of important proteins in a subset of cells or at specific loci are likely to play a significant role in disease etiologies, but the precise location might be unknown, or the concentration might be too small to be adequately sampled for traditional proteomic techniques. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is a unique analytical method that combines analysis of multiple molecular species and of their distribution in a single platform. As reproducibility is essential for successful biomarker discovery, it is important to systematically assess data quality in biologically relevant MALDI IMS experiments. In the present study, we applied four simple tools to study the reproducibility for individual sections, within-group variation, and between-group variation of data acquired from brain sections of 21 animals divided into three treatment groups. We also characterized protein changes in distinct regions of the striatum from six-month-old rats treated neonatally (postnatal days 9–10) with the cyanobacterial toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA), which has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. The results showed that optimized experimental settings can yield high-quality MALDI IMS data with relatively low variation (14% to 15% coefficient of variance) that allow the characterization of subtle changes in protein expression in various subregions of the brain. This was further exemplified by the dose-dependent reduction of myelin basic protein in the caudate putamen and the nucleus accumbens of adult rats neonatally treated with BMAA (150 and 460 mg/kg). The reduction in myelin basic protein was confirmed through immunohistochemistry and indicates that developmental exposure to BMAA may induce structural effects on axonal growth and/or directly on the proliferation of oligodendrocytes and myelination, which might be important for the previously shown BMAA-induced long-term cognitive impairments.
Nitric oxide (NO) mediates a substantial part of its physiologic functions via S-nitrosylation, however the cellular substrates for NO-mediated S-nitrosylation are largely unknown. Here we describe the S-nitrosoproteome using a high-density protein microarray chip containing 16,368 unique human proteins. We identified 834 potentially S-nitrosylated human proteins. Using a unique and highly specific labeling and affinity capture of S-nitrosylated proteins, 138 cysteine residues on 131 peptides in 95 proteins were determined, defining critical sites of NO's actions. Of these cysteine residues 113 are novel sites of S-nitrosylation. A consensus sequence motif from these 834 proteins for S-nitrosylation was identified, suggesting that the residues flanking the S-nitrosylated cysteine are likely to be the critical determinant of whether the cysteine is S-nitrosylated. We identify eight ubiquitin E3 ligases, RNF10, RNF11, RNF41, RNF141, RNF181, RNF208, WWP2, and UBE3A, whose activities are modulated by S-nitrosylation, providing a unique regulatory mechanism of the ubiquitin proteasome system. These results define a new and extensive set of proteins that are susceptible to NO regulation via S-nitrosylation. Similar approaches could be used to identify other post-translational modification proteomes.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive type of lung cancer, and the detection of SCLCs at an early stage is necessary for successful therapy and for improving cancer survival rates. Fucosylation is one of the most common glycosylation-based modifications. Increased levels of fucosylation have been reported in a number of pathological conditions, including cancers. In this study, we aimed to identify and validate the aberrant and selective fucosylated glycoproteins in the sera of patients with SCLC. Fucosylated glycoproteins were enriched by the Aleuria aurantia lectin column after serum albumin and IgG depletion. In a narrowed down and comparative data analysis of both label-free proteomics and isobaric peptide-tagging chemistry iTRAQ approaches, the fucosylated glycoproteins were identified as up- or down-regulated in the sera of limited disease and extensive disease stage patients with SCLC. Verification was performed by multiple reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry to select reliable markers. Four fucosylated proteins, APCS, C9, SERPINA4, and PON1, were selected and subsequently validated by hybrid A. aurantia lectin ELISA (HLE) and Western blotting. Compared with Western blotting, the HLE analysis of these four proteins produced more optimal diagnostic values for SCLC. The PON1 protein levels were significantly reduced in the sera of patients with SCLC, whereas the fucosylation levels of PON1 were significantly increased. Fucosylated PON1 exhibited an area under curve of 0.91 for the extensive disease stage by HLE, whereas the PON1 protein levels produced an area under curve of 0.82 by Western blot. The glycan structural analysis of PON1 by MS/MS identified a biantennary fucosylated glycan modification consisting of a core + 2HexNAc + 1Fuc at increased levels in the sera of patients with SCLC. In addition, the PON1 levels were decreased in the sera of the Lewis lung carcinoma lung cancer mouse model that we examined. Our data suggest that fucosylated protein biomarkers, such as PON1, and their fucosylation levels and patterns can serve as diagnostic and prognostic serological markers for SCLC.
In this study, the in vitro and in vivo functions of the only two identified protein phosphatases, Saci-PTP and Saci-PP2A, in the crenarchaeal model organism Sulfolobus acidocaldarius were investigated. Biochemical characterization revealed that Saci-PTP is a dual-specific phosphatase (against pSer/pThr and pTyr), whereas Saci-PP2A exhibited specific pSer/pThr activity and inhibition by okadaic acid. Deletion of saci_pp2a resulted in pronounced alterations in growth, cell shape and cell size, which could be partially complemented. Transcriptome analysis of the three strains (Δsaci_ptp, Δsaci_pp2a and the MW001 parental strain) revealed 155 genes that were differentially expressed in the deletion mutants, and showed significant changes in expression of genes encoding the archaella (archaeal motility structure), components of the respiratory chain and transcriptional regulators. Phosphoproteome studies revealed 801 unique phosphoproteins in total, with an increase in identified phosphopeptides in the deletion mutants. Proteins from most functional categories were affected by phosphorylation, including components of the motility system, the respiratory chain, and regulatory proteins. In the saci_pp2a deletion mutant the up-regulation at the transcript level, as well as the observed phosphorylation pattern, resembled starvation stress responses. Hypermotility was also observed in the saci_pp2a deletion mutant. The results highlight the importance of protein phosphorylation in regulating essential cellular processes in the crenarchaeon S. acidocaldarius.
Pollen development in angiosperms is one of the most important processes controlling plant reproduction and thus productivity. At the same time, pollen development is highly sensitive to environmental fluctuations, including temperature, drought, and nutrition. Therefore, pollen biology is a major focus in applied studies and breeding approaches for improving plant productivity in a globally changing climate. The most accessible developmental stages of pollen are the mature pollen and the pollen tubes, and these are thus most frequently analyzed. To reveal a complete quantitative proteome map, we additionally addressed the very early stages, analyzing eight stages of tobacco pollen development: diploid microsporocytes, meiosis, tetrads, microspores, polarized microspores, bipolar pollen, desiccated pollen, and pollen tubes. A protocol for the isolation of the early stages was established. Proteins were extracted and analyzed by means of a new gel LC-MS fractionation protocol. In total, 3817 protein groups were identified. Quantitative analysis was performed based on peptide count. Exceedingly stage-specific differential protein regulation was observed during the conversion from the sporophytic to the gametophytic proteome. A map of highly specialized functionality for the different stages could be revealed from the metabolic activity and pronounced differentiation of proteasomal and ribosomal protein complex composition up to protective mechanisms such as high levels of heat shock proteins in the very early stages of development.
Proteins form a diverse array of complexes that mediate cellular function and regulation. A largely unexplored feature of such protein complexes is the selective participation of specific protein isoforms and/or post-translationally modified forms. In this study, we combined native size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) with high-throughput proteomic analysis to characterize soluble protein complexes isolated from human osteosarcoma (U2OS) cells. Using this approach, we have identified over 71,500 peptides and 1,600 phosphosites, corresponding to over 8,000 proteins, distributed across 40 SEC fractions. This represents >50% of the predicted U2OS cell proteome, identified with a mean peptide sequence coverage of 27% per protein. Three biological replicates were performed, allowing statistical evaluation of the data and demonstrating a high degree of reproducibility in the SEC fractionation procedure. Specific proteins were detected interacting with multiple independent complexes, as typified by the separation of distinct complexes for the MRFAP1-MORF4L1-MRGBP interaction network. The data also revealed protein isoforms and post-translational modifications that selectively associated with distinct subsets of protein complexes. Surprisingly, there was clear enrichment for specific Gene Ontology terms associated with differential size classes of protein complexes. This study demonstrates that combined SEC/MS analysis can be used for the system-wide annotation of protein complexes and to predict potential isoform-specific interactions. All of these SEC data on the native separation of protein complexes have been integrated within the Encyclopedia of Proteome Dynamics, an online, multidimensional data-sharing resource available to the community.
Malaria, an infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus, is one of the world's major public health concerns causing up to a million deaths annually, mostly because of P. falciparum infections. All of the clinical symptoms are associated with the blood stage of the disease, an obligate part of the parasite life cycle, when a form of the parasite called the merozoite recognizes and invades host erythrocytes. During erythrocyte invasion, merozoites are directly exposed to the host humoral immune system making the blood stage of the parasite a conceptually attractive therapeutic target. Progress in the functional and molecular characterization of P. falciparum merozoite proteins, however, has been hampered by the technical challenges associated with expressing these proteins in a biochemically active recombinant form. This challenge is particularly acute for extracellular proteins, which are the likely targets of host antibody responses, because they contain structurally critical post-translational modifications that are not added by some recombinant expression systems. Here, we report the development of a method that uses a mammalian expression system to compile a protein resource containing the entire ectodomains of 42 P. falciparum merozoite secreted and cell surface proteins, many of which have not previously been characterized. Importantly, we are able to recapitulate known biochemical activities by showing that recombinant MSP1-MSP7 and P12-P41 directly interact, and that both recombinant EBA175 and EBA140 can bind human erythrocytes in a sialic acid-dependent manner. Finally, we use sera from malaria-exposed immune adults to profile the relative immunoreactivity of the proteins and show that the majority of the antigens contain conformational (heat-labile) epitopes. We envisage that this resource of recombinant proteins will make a valuable contribution toward a molecular understanding of the blood stage of P. falciparum infections and facilitate the comparative screening of antigens as blood-stage vaccine candidates.
Cotton ovule epidermal cell differentiation into long fibers primarily depends on wall-oriented processes such as loosening, elongation, remodeling, and maturation. Such processes are governed by cell wall bound structural proteins and interacting carbohydrate active enzymes. Glycosylation plays a major role in the structural, functional, and localization aspects of the cell wall and extracellular destined proteins. Elucidating the glycoproteome of fiber cells would reflect its wall composition as well as compartmental requirement, which must be system specific. Following complementary proteomic approaches, we have identified 334 unique proteins comprising structural and regulatory families. Glycopeptide-based enrichment followed by deglycosylation with PNGase F and A revealed 92 unique peptides containing 106 formerly N-linked glycosylated sites from 67 unique proteins. Our results showed that structural proteins like arabinogalactans and carbohydrate active enzymes were relatively more abundant and showed stage- and isoform-specific expression patterns in the differentiating fiber cell. Furthermore, our data also revealed the presence of heterogeneous and novel forms of structural and regulatory glycoproteins. Comparative analysis with other plant glycoproteomes highlighted the unique composition of the fiber glycoproteome. The present study provides the first insight into the identity, abundance, diversity, and composition of the glycoproteome within single celled cotton fibers. The elucidated composition also indirectly provides clues about unicellular compartmental requirements underlying single cell differentiation.
The process of angiogenesis is under complex regulation in adult organisms, particularly as it often occurs in an inflammatory post-wound environment. As such, there are many impacting factors that will regulate the generation of new blood vessels which include not only pro-angiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor, but also angiostatic factors. During initial postwound hemostasis, a large initial bolus of platelet factor 4 is released into localized areas of damage before progression of wound healing toward tissue homeostasis. Because of its early presence and high concentration, the angiostatic chemokine platelet factor 4, which can induce endothelial anoikis, can strongly affect angiogenesis. In our work, we explored signaling crosstalk interactions between vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet factor 4 using phosphotyrosine-enriched mass spectrometry methods on human dermal microvascular endothelial cells cultured under conditions facilitating migratory sprouting into collagen gel matrices. We developed new methods to enable mass spectrometry-based phosphorylation analysis of primary cells cultured on collagen gels, and quantified signaling pathways over the first 48 h of treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor in the presence or absence of platelet factor 4. By observing early and late signaling dynamics in tandem with correlation network modeling, we found that platelet factor 4 has significant crosstalk with vascular endothelial growth factor by modulating cell migration and polarization pathways, centered around P38α MAPK, Src family kinases Fyn and Lyn, along with FAK. Interestingly, we found EphA2 correlational topology to strongly involve key migration-related signaling nodes after introduction of platelet factor 4, indicating an influence of the angiostatic factor on this ambiguous but generally angiogenic signal in this complex environment.
Reduced signaling through the C. elegans insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1-like tyrosine kinase receptor daf-2 and dietary restriction via bacterial dilution are two well-characterized lifespan-extending interventions that operate in parallel or through (partially) independent mechanisms. Using accurate mass and time tag LC-MS/MS quantitative proteomics, we detected that the abundance of a large number of ribosomal subunits is decreased in response to dietary restriction, as well as in the daf-2(e1370) insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1-receptor mutant. In addition, general protein synthesis levels in these long-lived worms are repressed. Surprisingly, ribosomal transcript levels were not correlated to actual protein abundance, suggesting that post-transcriptional regulation determines ribosome content. Proteomics also revealed the increased presence of many structural muscle cell components in long-lived worms, which appeared to result from the prioritized preservation of muscle cell volume in nutrient-poor conditions or low insulin-like signaling. Activation of DAF-16, but not diet restriction, stimulates mRNA expression of muscle-related genes to prevent muscle atrophy. Important daf-2-specific proteome changes include overexpression of aerobic metabolism enzymes and general activation of stress-responsive and immune defense systems, whereas the increased abundance of many protein subunits of the proteasome core complex is a dietary-restriction-specific characteristic.
Tumor progression and prognosis in breast cancer patients are difficult to assess using current clinical and laboratory parameters, where a pathological grading is indicative of tumor aggressiveness. This grading is based on assessments of nuclear grade, tubule formation, and mitotic rate. We report here the first protein signatures associated with histological grades of breast cancer, determined using a novel affinity proteomics approach. We profiled 52 breast cancer tissue samples by combining nine antibodies and label-free LC-MS/MS, which generated detailed quantified proteomic maps representing 1,388 proteins. The results showed that we could define in-depth molecular portraits of histologically graded breast cancer tumors. Consequently, a 49-plex candidate tissue protein signature was defined that discriminated between histological grades 1, 2, and 3 of breast cancer tumors with high accuracy. Highly biologically relevant proteins were identified, and the differentially expressed proteins indicated further support for the current hypothesis regarding remodeling of the tumor microenvironment during tumor progression. The protein signature was corroborated using meta-analysis of transcriptional profiling data from an independent patient cohort. In addition, the potential for using the markers to estimate the likelihood of long-term metastasis-free survival was also indicated. Taken together, these molecular portraits could pave the way for improved classification and prognostication of breast cancer.
Microtubules dramatically change their dynamics and organization at the entry into mitosis. Although this change is mediated by microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), how MAPs themselves are regulated is not well understood. Here we used an integrated multi-level approach to establish the framework and biological significance of MAP regulation critical for the interphase/mitosis transition. Firstly, we applied quantitative proteomics to determine global cell cycle changes in the profiles of MAPs in human and Drosophila cells. This uncovered a wide range of cell cycle regulations of MAPs previously unidentified. Secondly, systematic studies of human kinesins highlighted an overlooked aspect of kinesins: most mitotic kinesins suppress their affinity to microtubules or reduce their protein levels in interphase in combination with nuclear localization. Thirdly, in-depth analysis of a novel Drosophila MAP (Mink) revealed that the suppression of the microtubule affinity of this mitotic MAP in combination with nuclear localization is essential for microtubule organization in interphase, and phosphorylation of Mink is needed for kinetochore-microtubule attachment in mitosis. Thus, this first comprehensive analysis of MAP regulation for the interphase/mitosis transition advances our understanding of kinesin biology and reveals the prevalence and importance of multi-layered MAP regulation.
Cancer is a leading cause of death and alterations of glycosylation are characteristic features of malignant cells. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers and its exact causes and biology are not yet well understood. Here, we compared glycosylation profiles of colorectal tumor tissues and corresponding control tissues of 13 colorectal cancer patients to contribute to the understanding of this cancer. Using MALDI-TOF(/TOF)-MS and 2-dimensional LC-MS/MS we characterized enzymatically released and 2-aminobenzoic acid labeled glycans from glycosphingolipids. Multivariate data analysis revealed significant differences between tumor and corresponding control tissues. Main discriminators were obtained, which represent the overall alteration in glycosylation of glycosphingolipids during colorectal cancer progression, and these were found to be characterized by (1) increased fucosylation, (2) decreased acetylation, (3) decreased sulfation, (4) reduced expression of globo-type glycans, as well as (5) disialyl gangliosides. The findings of our current research confirm former reports, and in addition expand the knowledge of glycosphingolipid glycosylation in colorectal cancer by revealing new glycans with discriminative power and characteristic, cancer-associated glycosylation alterations. The obtained discriminating glycans can contribute to progress the discovery of biomarkers to improve diagnostics and patient treatment.
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.
The Proteomics Standards Initiative has recently released the mzIdentML data standard for representing peptide and protein identification results, for example, created by a search engine. When a new standard format is produced, it is important that software tools are available that make it straightforward for laboratory scientists to use it routinely and for bioinformaticians to embed support in their own tools. Here we report the release of several open-source Java-based software packages based on mzIdentML: ProteoIDViewer, mzidLibrary, and mzidValidator. The ProteoIDViewer is a desktop application allowing users to visualize mzIdentML-formatted results originating from any appropriate identification software; it supports visualization of all the features of the mzIdentML format. The mzidLibrary is a software library containing routines for importing data from external search engines, post-processing identification data (such as false discovery rate calculations), combining results from multiple search engines, performing protein inference, setting identification thresholds, and exporting results from mzIdentML to plain text files. The mzidValidator is able to process files and report warnings or errors if files are not correctly formatted or contain some semantic error. We anticipate that these developments will simplify adoption of the new standard in proteomics laboratories and the integration of mzIdentML into other software tools. All three tools are freely available in the public domain.
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.
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.