Protein arginine (Arg) methylation serves an important functional role in eukaryotic cells, and typically occurs in domains consisting of multiple Arg in close proximity. Localization of methylarginine (MA) within Arg-rich domains poses a challenge for mass spectrometry (MS)-based methods; the peptides are highly-charged under electrospray ionization (ESI), which limits the number of sequence-informative products produced by collision induced dissociation (CID), and loss of the labile methylation moieties during CID precludes effective fragmentation of the peptide backbone. Here the fragmentation behavior of Arg-rich peptides was investigated comprehensively using electron transfer dissociation (ETD) and CID for both methylated and unmodified glycine-/Arg-rich peptides (GAR), derived from residues 679-695 of human nucleolin, which contains methylation motifs that are widely-represented in biological systems. ETD produced abundant information for sequencing and MA localization, whereas CID failed to provide credible identification for any available charge state (z=2-4). Nevertheless, CID produced characteristic neutral losses that can be employed to distinguish among different types of MA, as suggested by previous works and confirmed here with product ion scans of high accuracy/resolution by an LTQ/Orbitrap. To analyze MA-peptides in relatively complex mixtures, a method was developed that employs nano-LC coupled to alternating CID/ETD for peptide sequencing and MA localization/characterization, and an Orbitrap for accurate precursor measurement and relative quantification of MA-peptide stoichiometries. As proof of concept, GAR-peptides methylated in vitro by protein arginine N-methyltransferases PRMT1 and PRMT7 were analyzed. It was observed that PRMT1 generated a number of monomethylated (MMA) and asymmetric-dimethylated peptides, while PRMT7 produced predominantly MMA peptides and some symmetric-dimethylated peptides. This approach and the results may advance understanding of the actions of PRMTs and the functional significance of Arg methylation patterns.
A major clinical complication in the treatment of Hemophilia A using exogenously administered recombinant Factor VIII (FVIII) is the development of neutralizing antibodies. It has been shown previously that FVIII complexed with phosphatidylserine (PS) reduces the development of total and neutralizing antibody titers in hemophilic mice. The effect of complexation of FVIII with PS upon dendritic cell (DC) uptake, maturation and processing, T-cell proliferation and cytokine secretion profiles was investigated. Flow cytometric studies of DC showed that PS inhibited the up-regulation of cell surface co-stimulatory markers (CD86 and CD40). PS reduced T-cell proliferation and increased significantly levels of TGF-β and IL-10 but reduced secretion of IL-6 and IL-17 compared to controls. The data suggest that PS reduces immunogenicity of FVIII by regulating dendritic cell maturation and subsequent T-lymphocyte activity through modulation of cytokine secretion. A possible mechanism for PS-mediated induction of FVIII tolerance is discussed.
Immunogenicity; Phosphatidylserine; Tolerance; Factor VIII; Regulatory T cell; Tolerogenic dendritic cell
The taxanes are among the most important cancer chemotherapy drugs approved for clinical use in the last two decades. Paclitaxel is used as first-line therapy for a variety of cancers, and numerous drug delivery approaches are under investigation to enhance its selectivity and effectiveness against tumors. One strategy is to produce sustained, low drug levels within the tumor to enhance apoptosis and inhibit angiogenesis. The interest in altering drug concentration/time exposure profiles to improve therapeutic outcomes creates the necessity to quantify low concentrations of paclitaxel in cells or tissues. Here, a selective solid phase extraction (SPE) method, coupled with a capillary liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (μLC-MS/MS) method, was developed to quantify low, therapeutically relevant concentrations of paclitaxel that could not be analyzed using conventional LC-MS/MS. Under optimized SPE wash and elution conditions, paclitaxel was selectively extracted from biological samples, and most matrix components were removed. A 150×0.5 mm ID ODS capillary column was used for μLC separation and the flow rate was 12 μL/min. Sample extracts were focused at the front of the μLC column and then eluted with a gradient. The lower limits of detection and quantification were 5 and 20 pg/mL, respectively, permitting quantification of paclitaxel in small tissue samples or in cultured cells exposed to low drug concentrations. The quantitative linear range was 20–20,000 pg/mL. The ability to quantify these low concentrations of paclitaxel provides an important tool to study the concentration-dependent pharmacological effects of this important drug.
The incorporation of doxorubicin in long-circulating sterically stabilized liposomes (SSL-DXR) alters the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of doxorubicin and therefore has the potential to alter the pharmacologic properties of doxorubicin. Previously, we showed that repetitive administration of SSL-DXR alters tumor vascular permeability.
Here, we investigated the effect of weekly i.v. injections of SSL-DXR on plasma pharmacokinetics and drug biodistribution in the orthotopic 9L rat brain tumor model.
Results and Conclusions
The pharmacokinetics of free doxorubicin (5.67 mg/kg) did not change with repeat dosing. In contrast, drug concentrations in plasma and brain tumor increased and deposition in liver and spleen decreased after administration of the second of two weekly doses of SSL-DXR. Noncompartmental analysis and descriptive pharmacokinetic models were created to test hypotheses relating to the mechanisms responsible for alterations in SSL-DXR deposition. The analysis suggested that weekly administration of SSL-DXR significantly (P < 0.05) decreased the plasma elimination rate of SSL-DXR (34%) and decreased drug deposition in liver (2-fold) and spleen (3.5-fold). The pharmacokinetic model that best captured the observed 2.5-fold increase in tumor uptake of SSL-DXR mediated by repeat dosing was one that hypothesized that the rates of drug influx/efflux into tumor were increased by the first dose of SSL-DXR. Models that accounted only for residual drug deposited in the tissue or blood by the first weekly injection provided inferior fits to the data. Thus, the effects of repetitive dosing on SSL-DXR deposition in tumor are consistent with a treatment-mediated alteration of tumor vascular permeability.
Genome-wide transcriptional profiling is now feasible, and profiling of the proteome, although technically challenging, is advancing rapidly. Expression profiling provides a tool to accelerate discovery in a broad range of sciences, but its greatest impact on human health may be on the process of drug discovery and therapy development, and investigation of the functional networks underlying drug responses of diseased and normal tissue. For anticancer agents in particular, antitumor effects and toxicities to critical normal tissues may rest in a delicate balance that is governed by complex pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) inter-relationships. Recent advances in the development of mechanistic computational PD models promise to promote an understanding of these inter-relationships, provided suitable quantitative PD effect markers will be identified. Here we describe both advances toward the unsupervised application of PD models to complex expression profiling datasets, as well as approaches to address the technical requirement of these models for quantitative assessment of protein expression levels. Together, these models and analytical approaches may contribute to the rational design of more effective pharmacotherapies.
Pharmacology; pharmacodynamics; pharmacogenomics; proteomics; drug delivery; physiological modeling; cancer chemotherapy; review
Gene expression changes underlie important biological and pharmacological responses. Although mRNA expression profiling is routine, quantification of low abundance proteins, which typically represent key effectors of responses, remains challenging. A novel strategy was developed for sensitive and accurate quantification of low abundance proteins in highly complex biological matrices. First, the cysteine specificity of cleavable isotope-coded affinity tags (cICAT) was employed to reduce the complexity of the digested proteome of tissue homogenates, and to improve the quantification of low abundance proteins. Second, cICAT treated tissue samples were analyzed on a capillary LC coupled to an ion-trap MS to screen for the subset of cICAT-peptides, derived from target proteins of interest, that was successfully labeled and retrieved. Third, putatively identified peptides derived from target proteins were synthesized, cICAT-labeled, and used both to optimize multiple reactions monitoring (MRM) analysis and to confirm chromatographic retention time and fragmentation pattern. Finally, batch quantification of target peptides was performed using MRM on a LC/triple-quad MS/MS using 12C- (control) and 13C (experimental) -cICAT labeled tissue mixtures. The utility of this method was demonstrated by elucidating the time course of tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) induction in the liver of rats following treatment with the corticosteroid methylprednisolone (MPL). This approach significantly improved quantitative sensitivity, and the linear range was 10-fold greater than published previously. An additional advantage is that archived samples may be re-interrogated to investigate the regulation of additional targets that become of interest. Stored samples were sucessfully re-interrogated to monitor the induction of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), which is also an MPL-induced protein. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an ICAT-based method capable of quantifying low abundance proteins in highly complex samples such as tissue homogenates. The approach enables simultaneous quantification of multiple effector proteins induced by biological or pharmacological stimuli, and the processed samples can be interrogated repeatedly as additional targets of interest arise.
Factor VIII (FVIII) is an important cofactor in blood coagulation cascade. It is a multidomain protein that consists of six domains, NH2-A1-A2-B-A3-C1-C2-COOH. The deficiency or dysfunction of FVIII causes hemophilia A, a life-threatening bleeding disorder. Replacement therapy using recombinant FVIII (rFVIII) is the first line of therapy, but a major clinical complication is the development of inhibitory antibodies that abrogate the pharmacological activity of the administered protein. FVIII binds to anionic phospholipids (PL), such as phosphatidylinositol (PI), via lipid binding region within the C2 domain of FVIII. This lipid binding site not only consists of immunodominant epitopes but is also involved in von Willebrand factor binding that protects FVIII from degradation in vivo. Thus, we hypothesize that FVIII–PL complex will influence immunogenicity and catabolism of FVIII. The biophysical studies showed that PI binding did not alter conformation of the protein but improved intrinsic stability as measured by thermal denaturation studies. ELISA studies confirmed the involvement of the C2 domain in binding to PI containing lipid particles. PI binding prolonged the in vivo circulation time and reduced catabolism of FVIII in hemophilia A mice. FVIII–PI complex reduced inhibitor development in hemophilia A mice following intravenous and subcutaneous administration. The data suggest that PI binding reduces catabolism and immunogenicity of FVIII and has potential to be a useful therapeutic approach for hemophilia A.
factor VIII; hemophilia A; inhibitor development; immunogenicity; phosphatidylinositol
Liquid chromatography (LC)/mass spectrometry (MS) in selected-reactions-monitoring (SRM) mode provides a powerful tool for targeted protein quantification. However, efficient, high-throughput strategies for proper selection of signature peptides (SP) for protein quantification and accurate optimization of their SRM conditions remain elusive. Here we describe an on-the-fly, orthogonal array optimization (OAO) approach that enables rapid, comprehensive, and reproducible SRM optimization of a large number of candidate peptides in a single nanoflow-LC/MS run. With the optimized conditions, many peptide candidates can be evaluated in biological matrices for selection of the final SP. The OAO strategy employs a systematic experimental design that strategically varies product ions, de-clustering energy and collision energy in a cycle of 25 consecutive SRM trials, which accurately reveals the effects of these factors on the single-to-noise ratio of a candidate peptide, and optimizes each. As proof of concept, we developed a highly sensitive, accurate, and reproducible method for the quantification of carbonyl reductases CBR1 and CBR3 in human liver. Candidate peptides were identified by nano-LC/LTQ/Orbitrap, filtered using a stringent set of criteria, and subjected to OAO. After evaluating both sensitivity and stability of the candidates, two SP were selected for quantification of each protein. As a result of the accurate OAO of assay conditions, sensitivities of 80 and 110 amol were achieved for CBR1 and CBR3, respectively. The method was validated and used to quantify the CBRs in 33 human liver samples. The mean level of CBR1 was 93.4±49.7 (range: 26.2–241) ppm of total protein, and for CBR3 was 7.69±4.38 (range: 1.26–17.9) ppm. Key observations of this study are that: i) evaluation of peptide stability in the target matrix is essential for final selection of the SP; ii) utilization of two unique SP contributes to high reliability of target protein quantification; and iii) it is beneficial to construct calibration curves using standard proteins of verified concentrations to avoid severe biases that may result if synthesized peptides alone are used. Overall, the OAO method is versatile and adaptable to high-throughput quantification of validated biomarkers identified by proteomic discovery experiments.
Semi-mechanistic pharmacodynamic (PD) models that capture tumor responses to anticancer agents with fidelity can provide valuable insights that could aid in the optimization of dosing regimens and the development of drug delivery strategies. This study evaluated the utility and potential interchangeability of two transduction-type PD models: a cell distribution model (CDM) and a signal distribution model (SDM). The evaluation was performed by simulating dense and sparse tumor response data with one model and analyzing it using the other. Performance was scored by visual inspection and precision of parameter estimation. Capture of tumor response data was also evaluated for a liposomal formulation of paclitaxel in the paclitaxel-resistant murine Colon-26 model. A suitable PK model was developed by simultaneous fitting of literature data for paclitaxel formulations in mice. Analysis of the simulated tumor response data revealed that the SDM was more flexible in describing delayed drug effects upon tumor volume progression. Dense and sparse data simulated using the CDM were fit very well by the SDM, but under some conditions, data simulated using the SDM were fitted poorly by the CDM. Although both models described the dose-dependent therapeutic responses of Colon-26 tumors, the fit by the SDM contained less bias. The CDM and SDM are both useful transduction models that recapitulate, with fidelity, delayed drug effects upon tumor growth. However, they are mechanistically distinct and not interchangeable. Both fit some types of tumor growth data well, but the SDM appeared more robust, particularly where experimental data are sparse.
cancer; drug delivery; paclitaxel; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; transduction models
The anthracycline Doxorubicin (DXR) is used widely for the treatment of human malignancies, and drug delivery technologies are under investigation to enhance antitumor selectivity and effectiveness. A liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectroscopy (LC–MS/MS) method was developed to identify and quantify DXR and key metabolites in small-volume biological samples. The assay was linear over the therapeutically relevant concentration range (0.125–10,000 nM); in brain tissue, the lower limit of quantification was 0.247 nM and the sensitivity was 1.4 pg. The ability to quantify DXR and detect metabolite formation may provide insight into the toxicity and bioavailability of drug incorporated into carriers such as liposomes.
The ability to quantify ultra-low concentrations of biologically active compounds in biological matrices is essential for the study of pharmacological/toxicological effects occurring at low doses. Selective solid-phase extraction (SPE) was combined with highly sensitive capillary LC (μLC)-MS/MS analysis to achieve ultra-sensitive quantification of the anticancer drug paclitaxel in cancer cells. The optimized SPE selectively extracted paclitaxel and eliminated undesirable matrix compounds, thus enabling a high sample loading volume on the μLC column without compromising chromatographic performance and operational robustness. The validated lower limit of quantification (LOQ) was 5 pg/mL, approx. 20-fold more sensitive than published LC-MS/MS methods. The calibration curve was linear over the range of 5–6250 pg/mL. Accuracy was 98–109% and the variation (CV%) was 2.3–7.4%. This method was applied successfully to quantify temporal drug accumulation by A121a ovarian cancer cells treated with sub-ng/mL concentrations of paclitaxel.
selective SPE; capillary LC; LC-MS/MS; sensitive quantification; paclitaxel; docetaxel
For label-free expression profiling of tissue proteomes, efficient protein extraction, thorough and quantitative sample cleanup and digestion procedures, as well as sufficient and reproducible chromatographic separation, are highly desirable but remain challenging. However, optimal methodology has remained elusive, especially for proteomes that are rich in membrane proteins, such as the mitochondria. Here we describe a straightforward and reproducible sample preparation procedure, coupled with a highly selective and sensitive nano-LC/Orbitrap analysis, which enables reliable and comprehensive expression profiling of tissue mitochondria. The mitochondrial proteome of swine heart was selected as a test system. Efficient protein extraction was accomplished using a strong buffer containing both ionic and non-ionic detergents. Overnight precipitation was used for cleanup of the extract, and the sample was subjected to an optimized 2-step, on-pellet digestion approach. In the first step, the protein pellet was dissolved via a 4 h tryptic digestion under vigorous agitation, which nano-LC/LTQ/ETD showed to produce large and incompletely cleaved tryptic peptides. The mixture was then reduced, alkylated, and digested into its full complement of tryptic peptides with additional trypsin. This solvent precipitation/on-pellet digestion procedure achieved significantly higher and more reproducible peptide recovery of the mitochondrial preparation, than observed using a prevalent alternative procedure for label-free expression profiling, SDS-PAGE/in-gel digestion (87% vs. 54%). Furthermore, uneven peptide losses were lower than observed with SDS-PAGE/in-gel digestion. The resulting peptides were sufficiently resolved by a 5 h gradient using a nano-LC configuration that features a low-void-volume, high chromatographic reproducibility, and an LTQ/Orbitrap analyzer for protein identification and quantification. The developed method was employed for label-free comparison of the mitochondrial proteomes of myocardium from healthy animals vs. those with hibernating myocardium. Each experimental group consisted of a relatively large number of animals (n=10), and samples were analyzed in random order to minimize quantitative false-positives. Using this approach, 904 proteins were identified and quantified with high confidence, and those mitochondrial proteins that were altered significantly between groups were compared with the results of a parallel 2D-DIGE analysis. The sample preparation and analytical strategy developed here represents an advancement that can be adapted to analyze other tissue proteomes.
Factor VIII (FVIII) is a multidomain protein that is deficient in hemophilia A, a clinically important bleeding disorder. Replacement therapy using recombinant human FVIII (rFVIII) is the main therapy. However, approximately 15-30% of patients develop inhibitory antibodies that neutralize rFVIII activity. Antibodies to epitopes in C2 domain, which is involved in FVIII binding to phospholipids, are highly prevalent. Here, we investigated the effect of phosphatidylserine (PS)-containing liposomes, which bind to C2 domain with high affinity and specificity, upon the immunogenicity of rFVIII. Circular dichroism studies showed that PS-containing liposomes interfered with aggregation of rFVIII. Immunogenicity of free- versus liposomal-rFVIII was evaluated in a murine model of hemophilia A. Animals treated with s.c. injections of liposomal-rFVIII had lower total- and inhibitory titers, compared to animals treated with rFVIII alone. Antigen processing by proteolytic enzymes was reduced in the presence of liposomes. Animals treated with s.c. injections of liposomal-rFVIII showed a significant increase in rFVIII plasma concentration compared to animals that received rFVIII alone. Based on these studies, we hypothesize that specific molecular interactions between PS-containing bilayers and rFVIII may provide a basis for designing lipidic complexes that improve the stability, reduce the immunogenicity of rFVIII formulations, and permit administration by s.c. route.
hemophilia A; recombinant FVIII; immunogenicity; inhibitor antibodies; phosphatidylserine liposomes; protein delivery; protein formulation; lipids; immunology
The replacement therapy using recombinant human FVIII (rFVIII) is the first line of therapy for hemophilia A. Approximately 15-30% of the patients develop inhibitory antibodies. Recently, we reported that liposomes composed of phosphatidylserine (PS) could reduce the immunogenicity of rFVIII. However, PS containing liposomal-rFVIII is likely to reduce the systemic exposure and efficacy of FVIII due to rapid uptake of the PS containing liposomes by the reticuloendothelial system (RES). Here, we investigated whether phosphatidylserine (PS) liposomes containing polyethyleneglycol (PEG) (PEGylated), could reduce the immunogenicity of rFVIII and reverse the reduction in systemic exposure of rFVIII. Animals given PEGylated liposomal-rFVIII had lower total and inhibitory anti-rFVIII antibody titers, compared to animals treated with rFVIII alone. The mean stimulation index of CD4+ T-cells from animals given PEGylated liposomal-rFVIII also was lower than for animals that were given rFVIII alone. Pharmacokinetic studies following intravenous dosing indicated that the systemic exposure (area under the activity curve, AUAC0-24h) of PEGylated liposomal-rFVIII was ∼59 IU/mL×h and significantly higher than that of non-PEGylated liposomal-rFVIII (AUAC0-24h∼36 IU/mL×h). Based on these studies, we speculate that PEGylated PS-containing liposomal rFVIII may improve efficacy of rFVIII.
hemophilia A; recombinant FVIII; immunogenicity; inhibitory antibodies; PEGylated-liposomes
In animal models, liposomal formulations of paclitaxel possess lower toxicity and equal antitumor efficacy compared with the clinical formulation, Taxol. The goal of this study was to determine the formulation dependence of paclitaxel pharmacokinetics in rats, in order to test the hypothesis that altered biodistribution of paclitaxel modifies the exposure of critical normal tissues. Paclitaxel was administered intravenously in either multilamellar (MLV) liposomes composed of phosphatidylglycerol/phosphatidylcholine (L-pac) or in the Cremophor EL/ethanol vehicle used for the Taxol formulation (Cre-pac). The dose was 40 mg/kg, and the infusion time was 8 to 9 minutes. Animals were killed at various times, and pharmacokinetic parameters were determined from the blood and tissue distribution of paclitaxel. The area under the concentration vs time curve (AUC) for blood was similar for the 2 formulations (L-pac: 38.1±3.32 μg-h/mL; Cre-pac: 34.5±0.994 μg-h/mL), however, the AUC for various tissues was formulation-dependent. For bone marrow, skin, kidney, brain, adipose, and muscle tissue, the AUC was statistically higher for Cre-pac. For spleen, a tissue of the reticuloendothelial system that is important in the clearance of liposomes, the AUC was statistically higher for L-pac. Apparent tissue partition coefficients (Kp) also were calculated. For bone marrow, a tissue in which paclitaxel exerts significant toxicity, Kp was 5-fold greater for paclitaxel in Cre-pac. The data are consistent with paclitaxel release from circulating liposomes, but with efflux delayed sufficiently to retain drug to a greater extent in the central (blood) compartment and reduce penetration into peripheral tissues. These effects may contribute to the reduced toxicity of liposomal formulations of paclitaxel.
drug delivery; paclitaxel; liposomes; physiological modeling; cancer chemotherapy