BACKGROUND: Metal-containing proteins comprise a diverse and sizable category within the proteomes of organisms, ranging from proteins that use metals to catalyze reactions to proteins in which metals play key structural roles. Unfortunately, reliably predicting that a protein will contain a specific metal from its amino acid sequence is not currently possible. We recently developed a generally-applicable experimental technique for finding metalloproteins on a genome-wide scale. Applying this metal-directed protein purification approach (ICP-MS and MS/MS based) to the prototypical microbe Pyrococcus furiosus conclusively demonstrated the extent and diversity of the uncharacterized portion of microbial metalloproteomes since a majority of the observed metal peaks could not be assigned to known or predicted metalloproteins. However, even using this technique, it is not technically feasible to purify to homogeneity all metalloproteins in an organism. In order to address these limitations and complement the metal-directed protein purification, we developed a computational infrastructure and statistical methodology to aid in the pursuit and identification of novel metalloproteins. RESULTS: We demonstrate that our methodology enables predictions of metal-protein interactions using an experimental data set derived from a chromatography fractionation experiment in which 870 proteins and 10 metals were measured over 2,589 fractions. For each of the 10 metals, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, and zinc, clusters of proteins frequently occurring in metal peaks (of a specific metal) within the fractionation space were defined. This resulted in predictions that there are from 5 undiscovered vanadium- to 13 undiscovered cobalt-containing proteins in Pyrococcus furiosus. Molybdenum and nickel were chosen for additional assessment producing lists of genes predicted to encode metalloproteins or metalloprotein subunits, 22 for nickel including seven from known nickel-proteins, and 20 for molybdenum including two from known molybdo-proteins. The uncharacterized proteins are prime candidates for metal-based purification or recombinant approaches to validate these predictions. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the largely uncharacterized extent of native metalloproteomes can be revealed through analysis of the co-occurrence of metals and proteins across a fractionation space. This can significantly impact our understanding of metallobiochemistry, disease mechanisms, and metal toxicity, with implications for bioremediation, medicine and other fields.
All organisms, including humans, possess a huge number of uncharacterized enzymes. Here we describe a general cell-based screen for enzyme substrate discovery by untargeted metabolomics and its application to identify the protein alpha/beta-hydrolase domain-containing 3 (ABHD3) as a lipase that selectively cleaves medium-chain and oxidatively truncated phospholipids. Abhd3(-/-) mice possess elevated myristoyl (C14)-phospholipids, including the bioactive lipid C14-lysophosphatidylcholine, confirming the physiological relevance of our substrate assignments.
The double epidemic of substance abuse and HIV infection is a multifaceted problem To investigate mechanistic clues to the effects of substance abuse on infected individuals we preformed quantitative proteomic profiling of plasma in a methamphetamine treated nonhuman primate model for AIDS. A nontargeted quantitative approach identified extracellular superoxide dismutase to be significantly upregulated by SIV and methamphetamine treatment, and targeted studies revealed an increase in expression in the antioxidant glutathione S-transferase, thus pointing to a compensatory response to increased oxidative stress in methamphetamine-treated animals.
Bacterial protein secretion is a highly orchestrated process that is essential for infection and virulence. Despite extensive efforts to predict or experimentally detect proteins that are secreted, the characterization of the bacterial secretome has remained challenging. A central event in protein secretion is the type I signal peptidase (SPase)-mediated cleavage of the N-terminal signal peptide that targets a protein for secretion via the general secretory pathway, and the arylomycins are a class of natural products that inhibit SPase, suggesting that they may be useful chemical biology tools for characterizing the secretome. Here, using an arylomycin derivative, along with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identify 11 proteins whose secretion from stationary-phase Staphylococcus epidermidis is dependent on SPase activity, 9 of which are predicted to be translated with canonical N-terminal signal peptides. In addition, we find that the presence of extracellular domains of lipoteichoic acid synthase (LtaS) and the beta-lactam response sensor BlaR1 in the medium is dependent on SPase activity, suggesting that they are cleaved at noncanonical sites within the protein. In all, the data define the proteins whose stationary-phase secretion depends on SPase and also suggest that the arylomycins should be valuable chemical biology tools for the study of protein secretion in a wide variety of different bacteria.
GDE1 is a mammalian glycerophosphodiesterase (GDE) implicated by in vitro studies in the regulation of glycerophophoinositol (GroPIns) and possibly other glycerophospho (GroP) metabolites. Here, we show using untargeted metabolomics that GroPIns is profoundly (>20-fold) elevated in brain tissue from GDE1(-/-) mice. Furthermore, two additional GroP metabolites not previously identified in eukaryotic cells, glycerophosphoserine (GroPSer) and glycerophosphoglycerate (GroPGate), were also highly elevated in GDE1(-/-) brains. Enzyme assays with synthetic GroP metabolites confirmed that GroPSer and GroPGate are direct substrates of GDE1. Interestingly, our metabolomic profiles also revealed that serine (both L-and D-) levels were significantly reduced in brains of GDE1(-/-) mice. These findings designate GroPSer as a previously unappreciated reservoir for free serine in the nervous system and suggest that GDE1, through recycling serine from GroPSer, may impact D-serine-dependent neural signaling processes in vivo.
BACKGROUND: Rapidly characterizing the operational interrelationships among all genes in a given organism is a critical bottleneck to significantly advancing our understanding of thousands of newly sequenced microbial and eukaryotic species. While evolving technologies for global profiling of transcripts, proteins, and metabolites are making it possible to comprehensively survey cellular physiology in newly sequenced organisms, these experimental techniques have not kept pace with sequencing efforts. Compounding these technological challenges is the fact that individual experiments typically only stimulate relatively small-scale cellular responses, thus requiring numerous expensive experiments to survey the operational relationships among nearly all genetic elements. Therefore, a relatively quick and inexpensive strategy for observing changes in large fractions of the genetic elements is highly desirable. RESULTS: We have discovered in the model organism Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 that batch culturing in complex medium stimulates meaningful changes in the expression of approximately two thirds of all genes. While the majority of these changes occur during transition from rapid exponential growth to the stationary phase, several transient physiological states were detected beyond what has been previously observed. In sum, integrated analysis of transcript and metabolite changes has helped uncover growth phase-associated physiologies, operational interrelationships among two thirds of all genes, specialized functions for gene family members, waves of transcription factor activities, and growth phase associated cell morphology control. CONCLUSIONS: Simple laboratory culturing in complex medium can be enormously informative regarding the activities of and interrelationships among a large fraction of all genes in an organism. This also yields important baseline physiological context for designing specific perturbation experiments at different phases of growth. The integration of such growth and perturbation studies with measurements of associated environmental factor changes is a practical and economical route for the elucidation of comprehensive systems-level models of biological systems.
Astrocytes are well known modulators of normal developmental retinal vascularization. However, relatively little is known about the role of glial cells during pathological retinal neovascularization (NV), a leading contributor to vision loss in industrialized nations. We demonstrate that the loss of astrocytes and microglia directly correlates with the development of pathological NV in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). These two distinct glial cell populations were found to have cooperative survival effects in vitro and in vivo. The intravitreal injection of myeloid progenitor cells, astrocytes, or astrocyte-conditioned media rescued endogenous astrocytes from degeneration that normally occurs within the hypoxic, vaso-obliterated retina following return to normoxia. Protection of the retinal astrocytes and microglia was directly correlated with accelerated revascularization of the normal retinal plexuses and reduction of pathological intravitreal NV normally associated with OIR. Using astrocyte-conditioned media, several factors were identified that may contribute to the observed astrocytic protection and subsequent normalization of the retinal vasculature, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Injection of VEGF or bFGF at specific doses rescued the retinas from developing OIR-associated pathology, an effect that was also preceded by protection of endogenous glia from hypoxia-induced degeneration. Together, these data suggest that vascular-associated glia are also required for normalized revascularization of the hypoxic retina. Methods developed to target and protect glial cells may provide a novel strategy by which normalized revascularization can be promoted and the consequences of abnormal NV in retinal vascular diseases can be prevented.
Metabolites offer an important unexplored complementary approach to understanding the pluripotency of stem cells. Using MS-based metabolomics, we show that embryonic stem cells are characterized by abundant metabolites with highly unsaturated structures whose levels decrease upon differentiation. By monitoring the reduced and oxidized glutathione ratio as well as ascorbic acid levels, we demonstrate that the stem cell redox status is regulated during differentiation. On the basis of the oxidative biochemistry of the unsaturated metabolites, we experimentally manipulated specific pathways in embryonic stem cells while monitoring the effects on differentiation. Inhibition of the eicosanoid signaling pathway promoted pluripotency and maintained levels of unsaturated fatty acids. In contrast, downstream oxidized metabolites (for example, neuroprotectin D1) and substrates of pro-oxidative reactions (for example, acyl-carnitines), promoted neuronal and cardiac differentiation. We postulate that the highly unsaturated metabolome sustained by stem cells allows them to differentiate in response to in vivo oxidative processes such as inflammation.
Metal ion cofactors afford proteins virtually unlimited catalytic potential, enable electron transfer reactions and have a great impact on protein stability. Consequently, metalloproteins have key roles in most biological processes, including respiration (iron and copper), photosynthesis (manganese) and drug metabolism (iron). Yet, predicting from genome sequence the numbers and types of metal an organism assimilates from its environment or uses in its metalloproteome is currently impossible because metal coordination sites are diverse and poorly recognized. We present here a robust, metal-based approach to determine all metals an organism assimilates and identify its metalloproteins on a genome-wide scale. This shifts the focus from classical protein-based purification to metal-based identification and purification by liquid chromatography, high-throughput tandem mass spectrometry (HT-MS/MS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to characterize cytoplasmic metalloproteins from an exemplary microorganism (Pyrococcus furiosus). Of 343 metal peaks in chromatography fractions, 158 did not match any predicted metalloprotein. Unassigned peaks included metals known to be used (cobalt, iron, nickel, tungsten and zinc; 83 peaks) plus metals the organism was not thought to assimilate (lead, manganese, molybdenum, uranium and vanadium; 75 peaks). Purification of eight of 158 unexpected metal peaks yielded four novel nickel- and molybdenum-containing proteins, whereas four purified proteins contained sub-stoichiometric amounts of misincorporated lead and uranium. Analyses of two additional microorganisms (Escherichia coli and Sulfolobus solfataricus) revealed species-specific assimilation of yet more unexpected metals. Metalloproteomes are therefore much more extensive and diverse than previously recognized, and promise to provide key insights for cell biology, microbial growth and toxicity mechanisms.
Investigating, predicting, diagnosing, and treating HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) has been hindered by the lack of disease-related molecular markers. In this study, plasma from rhesus monkeys (n = 6), before and after infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), was profiled to obtain differential fingerprints in protein expression during SIV-induced central nervous system (CNS) disease. A quantitative proteomic analysis was performed by means of isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) labeling, using multidimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) run on a linear ion trap mass spectrometer in an integrated mode comprising pulsed-Q-dissociation (PQD) and CID. Among a panel of proteins showing differential expression following SIV infection, we identified afamin, a member of the albumin superfamily, to be significantly down regulated after infection. Validation by Western blot confirmed this observation and, given its potential implication in neuroprotection by transport of alpha-tocopherol (alphaTocH), provides new avenues into further understanding HIV induced CNS disease. iTRAQ-based LC-MS/MS provides a valuable platform for plasma protein profiling and has important implications in identifying molecular markers relevant for the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Using such an approach, we show its successful application in identifying differential fingerprints in SIV/HIV induced CNS disease.
The HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder occurs in approximately one-third of infected individuals. It has persisted in the current era of antiretroviral therapy, and its study is complicated by the lack of biomarkers for this condition. Since the cerebrospinal fluid is the most proximal biofluid to the site of pathology, we studied the cerebrospinal fluid in a nonhuman primate model for HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder. Here we present a simple and efficient liquid chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach that utilizes small amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. First, we demonstrate the validity of the methodology using human cerebrospinal fluid. Next, using the simian immunodeficiency virus-infected monkey model, we show its efficacy in identifying proteins such as alpha-1-antitrypsin, complement C3, hemopexin, IgM heavy chain, and plasminogen, whose increased expression is linked to disease. Finally, we find that the increase in cerebrospinal fluid proteins is linked to increased expression of their genes in the brain parenchyma, revealing that the cerebrospinal fluid alterations identified reflect changes in the brain itself and not merely leakage of the blood-brain or blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers. This study reveals new central nervous system alterations in lentivirus-induced neurological disease, and this technique can be applied to other systems in which limited amounts of biofluids can be obtained.
Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) is a plant comovirus in the picornavirus superfamily, and is used for a wide variety of biomedical and material science applications. Although its replication is restricted to plants, CPMV binds to and enters mammalian cells, including endothelial cells and particularly tumor neovascular endothelium in vivo. This natural capacity has lead to the use of CPMV as a sensor for intravital imaging of vascular development. Binding of CPMV to endothelial cells occurs via interaction with a 54 kD cell-surface protein, but this protein has not previously been identified. Here we identify the CPMV binding protein as a cell-surface form of the intermediate filament vimentin. The CPMV-vimentin interaction was established using proteomic screens and confirmed by direct interaction of CPMV with purified vimentin, as well as inhibition in a vimentin-knockout cell line. Vimentin and CPMV were also co-localized in vascular endothelium of mouse and rat in vivo. Together these studies indicate that surface vimentin mediates binding and may lead to internalization of CPMV in vivo, establishing surface vimentin as an important vascular endothelial ligand for nanoparticle targeting to tumors. These results also establish vimentin as a ligand for picornaviruses in both the plant and animal kingdoms of life. Since bacterial pathogens and several other classes of viruses also bind to surface vimentin, these studies suggest a common role for surface vimentin in pathogen transmission.
The emerging field of global mass-based metabolomics provides a platform for discovering unknown metabolites and their specific biochemical pathways. We report the identification of a new endogenous metabolite, N(4)-(N-acetylaminopropyl)spermidine and the use of a novel proteomics based method for the investigation of its protein interaction using metabolite immobilization on agarose beads. The metabolite was isolated from the organism Pyrococcus furiosus, and structurally characterized through an iterative process of synthesizing candidate molecules and comparative analysis using accurate mass LC-MS/MS. An approach developed for the selective preparation of N(1)-acetylthermospermine, one of the possible structures of the unknown metabolite, provides a convenient route to new polyamine derivatives through methylation on the N(8) and N(4) of the thermospermine scaffold. The biochemical role of the novel metabolite as well as that of two other polyamines: spermidine and agmatine is investigated through metabolite immobilization and incubation with native proteins. The identification of eleven proteins that uniquely bind with N(4)-(N-acetylaminopropyl)spermidine, provides information on the role of this novel metabolite in the native organism. Identified proteins included hypothetical ones such as PF0607 and PF1199, and those involved in translation, DNA synthesis and the urea cycle like translation initiation factor IF-2, 50S ribosomal protein L14e, DNA-directed RNA polymerase, and ornithine carbamoyltransferase. The immobilization approach demonstrated here has the potential for application to other newly discovered endogenous metabolites found through untargeted metabolomics, as a preliminary screen for generating a list of proteins that could be further investigated for specific activity.
Increased nuclear protein O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine glycosylation (O-GlcNAcylation) mediated by high glucose treatment or the hyperglycemia of diabetes mellitus contributes to cardiac myocyte dysfunction. However, whether mitochondrial proteins in cardiac myocytes are also submitted to O-GlcNAcylation or excessive O-GlcNAcylation alters mitochondrial function is unknown. In this study, we determined if mitochondrial proteins are O-GlcNAcylated and explored if increased O-GlcNAcylation is linked to high glucose-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. By immunoprecipitation, we found that several mitochondrial proteins, which are members of complexes of the respiratory chain, like subunit NDUFA9 of complex I, subunits core 1 and core 2 of complex III, and the mitochondrial DNA-encoded subunit I of complex IV (COX I) are O-GlcNAcylated. By mass spectrometry, we identified that serine 156 on NDUFA9 is O-GlcNAcylated. High glucose treatment (30 mm glucose) increases mitochondrial protein O-GlcNAcylation, including those of COX I and NDUFA9 which are reduced by expression of O-GlcNAcase (GCA). Increased mitochondrial O-GlcNAcylation is associated with impaired activity of complex I, III, and IV in addition to lower mitochondrial calcium and cellular ATP content. When the excessive O-GlcNAc modification is reduced by GCA expression, mitochondrial function improves; the activity of complex I, III, and IV increases to normal and mitochondrial calcium and cellular ATP content are returned to control levels. From these results we conclude that specific mitochondrial proteins of cardiac myocytes are O-GlcNAcylated and that exposure to high glucose increases mitochondrial protein O-GlcNAcylation, which in turn contributes to impaired mitochondrial function.
Virtually all cellular processes are carried out by dynamic molecular assemblies or multiprotein complexes, the compositions of which are largely undefined. They cannot be predicted solely from bioinformatics analyses nor are there well defined techniques currently available to unequivocally identify protein complexes (PCs). To address this issue, we attempted to directly determine the identity of PCs from native microbial biomass using Pyrococcus furiosus, a hyperthermophilic archaeon that grows optimally at 100 degrees C, as the model organism. Novel PCs were identified by large scale fractionation of the native proteome using non-denaturing, sequential column chromatography under anaerobic, reducing conditions. A total of 967 distinct P. furiosus proteins were identified by mass spectrometry (nano LC-ESI-MS/MS), representing approximately 80% of the cytoplasmic proteins. Based on the co-fractionation of proteins that are encoded by adjacent genes on the chromosome, 106 potential heteromeric PCs containing 243 proteins were identified, only 20 of which were known or expected. In addition to those of unknown function, novel and uncharacterized PCs were identified that are proposed to be involved in the metabolism of amino acids (10), carbohydrates (four), lipids (two), vitamins and metals (three), and DNA and RNA (nine). A further 30 potential PCs were classified as tentative, and the remaining potential PCs (13) were classified as weakly interacting. Some major advantages of native biomass fractionation for PC identification are that it provides a road map for the (partial) purification of native forms of novel and uncharacterized PCs, and the results can be utilized for the recombinant production of low abundance PCs to provide enough material for detailed structural and biochemical analyses.
Mass spectrometry has become an indispensable tool for the global study of metabolites (metabolomics), primarily using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). However, many important classes of molecules such as neutral lipids do not ionize well by ESI and go undetected. Chemical derivatization of metabolites can enhance ionization for increased sensitivity and metabolomic coverage. Here we describe the use of tris(2,4,6,-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium acetic acid (TMPP-AA) to improve liquid chromatography (LC)/ESI-MS detection of hydroxylated metabolites (i.e. lipids) from serum extracts. Cholesterol which is not normally detected from serum using ESI is observed with attomole sensitivity. This approach was applied to identify four endogenous lipids (hexadecanoyl-sn-glycerol, dihydrotachysterol, octadecanol, and alpha-tocopherol) from human serum. Overall, this approach extends the types of metabolites which can be detected using standard ESI-MS instrumentation and demonstrates the potential for targeted metabolomics analysis.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection of mice is noncytopathic, producing well-characterized changes reflecting the host immune response. Untargeted metabolomics using mass spectrometry identified endogenous small molecule changes in blood from mice inoculated with LCMV, sampled at days 1, 3, 7, and 14 post infection. These time points correspond to well characterized events during acute LCMV infection and the immune response. Diverse pathways were altered, including TCA cycle intermediates, gamma-glutamyl dipeptides, lysophosphatidyl cholines, and fatty acids. The kynurenine pathway was activated, surprising because it is stimulated by IFN-gamma, which LCMV suppresses, thus, suggesting alternative activators. In contrast, biopterin/neopterin, another IFN-gamma stimulated pathway, was not activated. Many metabolites followed "response and recovery" kinetics, decreasing after infection to a minimum at days 3-7, and returning to normal by day 14. The TCA pathway followed this pattern, including citrate, cis-aconitate and alpha-ketoglutarate, intriguing because succinate has been shown to mediate cellular immunity. This response and recovery dynamic tracks the immune response, including the rise and fall of natural killer cell populations, serum TNF receptor concentration, and viral clearance. Metabolomics can provide target pathways for molecular diagnostics or therapeutics of viral infection and immunity.
We have performed a comprehensive characterization of global molecular changes for a model organism Pyrococcus furiosus using transcriptomic (DNA microarray), proteomic, and metabolomic analysis as it undergoes a cold adaptation response from its optimal 95 to 72 degrees C. Metabolic profiling on the same set of samples shows the down-regulation of many metabolites. However, some metabolites are found to be strongly up-regulated. An approach using accurate mass, isotopic pattern, database searching, and retention time is used to putatively identify several metabolites of interest. Many of the up-regulated metabolites are part of an alternative polyamine biosynthesis pathway previously established in a thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus. Arginine, agmatine, spermidine, and branched polyamines N4-aminopropylspermidine and N4-( N-acetylaminopropyl)spermidine were unambiguously identified based on their accurate mass, isotopic pattern, and matching of MS/MS data acquired under identical conditions for the natural metabolite and a high purity standard. Both DNA microarray and semiquantitative proteomic analysis using a label-free spectral counting approach indicate the down-regulation of a large majority of genes with diverse predicted functions related to growth such as transcription, amino acid biosynthesis, and translation. Some genes are, however, found to be up-regulated through the measurement of their relative mRNA and protein levels. The complimentary information obtained by the various "omics" techniques is used to catalogue and correlate the overall molecular changes.
The Escherichia coli small (30S) ribosomal subunit is a particularly well-characterized model system for studying in vitro self-assembly. A previously developed pulse-chase monitored by quantitative mass spectrometry (PC/QMS) approach to measuring kinetics of in vitro 30S assembly suffered from poor signal-to-noise and was unable to observe some ribosomal proteins. We have developed an improved LC-MS based method using quantitative ESI-TOF analysis of isotope-labeled tryptic peptides. Binding rates for 18 of the 20 ribosomal proteins are reported, and exchange of proteins S2 and S21 between bound and unbound states prevented measurement of their binding kinetics. Multiphasic kinetics of 3' domain proteins S7 and S9 are reported, which support an assembly mechanism that utilizes multiple parallel pathways. This quantitative ESI-TOF approach should be widely applicable to study the assembly of other macromolecular complexes and to quantitative proteomics experiments in general.
Mass spectrometry based metabolomics represents a new area for bioinformatics technology development. While the computational tools currently available such as XCMS statistically assess and rank LC-MS features, they do not provide information about their structural identity. XCMS(2) is an open source software package which has been developed to automatically search tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) data against high quality experimental MS/MS data from known metabolites contained in a reference library (METLIN). Scoring of hits is based on a "shared peak count" method that identifies masses of fragment ions shared between the analytical and reference MS/MS spectra. Another functional component of XCMS(2) is the capability of providing structural information for unknown metabolites, which are not in the METLIN database. This "similarity search" algorithm has been developed to detect possible structural motifs in the unknown metabolite which may produce characteristic fragment ions and neutral losses to related reference compounds contained in METLIN, even if the precursor masses are not the same.
Antibody affinity is critically important in therapeutic applications, as well as steady state diagnostic assays. Picomolar affinity antibodies, approaching the association limit of protein-protein interactions, have been discovered for highly potent antigens, but even such high-affinity binders have off-rates sufficient to negate therapeutic efficacy. To cross this affinity threshold, antibodies that tether their targets in a manner other than reversible non-covalent interaction will be required. Here we report the design and construction of an antibody that forms an irreversible complex with a protein antigen in a metal-dependent reaction. The complex resists thermal and chemical denaturation, as well as attempts to remove the coordinating metal ion. Such irreversibly binding antibodies could facilitate the development of next generation "reactive antibody" therapeutics and diagnostics.
A new and general methodology is described for the targeted enrichment and subsequent direct mass spectrometric characterization of sample subsets bearing various chemical functionalities from highly complex mixtures of biological origin. Specifically, sample components containing a chemical moiety of interest are first selectively labeled with perfluoroalkyl groups, and the entire sample is then applied to a perfluoroalkyl-silylated porous silicon (pSi) surface. Due to the unique hydrophobic and lipophobic nature of the perfluorinated tags, unlabeled sample components are readily removed using simple surface washes, and the enriched sample fraction can then directly be analyzed by desorption/ionization on silicon mass spectrometry (DIOS-MS). Importantly, this fluorous-based enrichment methodology provides a single platform that is equally applicable to both peptide as well as small molecule focused applications. The utility of this technique is demonstrated by the enrichment and mass spectrometric analysis of both various peptide subsets from protein digests as well as amino acids from serum.
Mass spectrometry analysis was used to target three different aspects of the viral infection process: the expression kinetics of viral proteins, changes in the expression levels of cellular proteins, and the changes in cellular metabolites in response to viral infection. The combination of these methods represents a new, more comprehensive approach to the study of viral infection revealing the complexity of these events within the infected cell. The proteins associated with measles virus (MV) infection of human HeLa cells were measured using a label-free approach. On the other hand, the regulation of cellular and Flock House Virus (FHV) proteins in response to FHV infection of Drosophila cells was monitored using stable isotope labeling. Three complementary techniques were used to monitor changes in viral protein expression in the cell and host protein expression. A total of 1500 host proteins was identified and quantified, of which over 200 proteins were either up- or down-regulated in response to viral infection, such as the up-regulation of the Drosophila apoptotic croquemort protein, and the down-regulation of proteins that inhibited cell death. These analyses also demonstrated the up-regulation of viral proteins functioning in replication, inhibition of RNA interference, viral assembly, and RNA encapsidation. Over 1000 unique metabolites were also observed with significant changes in over 30, such as the down-regulated cellular phospholipids possibly reflecting the initial events in cell death and viral release. Overall, the cellular transformation that occurs upon viral infection is a process involving hundreds of proteins and metabolites, many of which are structurally and functionally uncharacterized.
The aim of metabolite profiling is to monitor all metabolites within a biological sample for applications in basic biochemical research as well as pharmacokinetic studies and biomarker discovery. Here, novel data analysis software, XCMS, was used to monitor all metabolite features detected from an array of serum extraction methods, with application to metabolite profiling using electrospray liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (ESI-LC/MS). The XCMS software enabled the comparison of methods with regard to reproducibility, the number and type of metabolite features detected, and the similarity of these features between different extraction methods. Extraction efficiency with regard to metabolite feature hydrophobicity was examined through the generation of unique feature density distribution plots, displaying feature distribution along chromatographic time. Hierarchical clustering was performed to highlight similarities in the metabolite features observed between the extraction methods. Protein extraction efficiency was determined using the Bradford assay, and the residual proteins were identified using nano-LC/MS/MS. Additionally, the identification of four of the most intensely ionized serum metabolites using FTMS and tandem mass spectrometry was reported. The extraction methods, ranging from organic solvents and acids to heat denaturation, varied widely in both protein removal efficiency and the number of mass spectral features detected. Methanol protein precipitation followed by centrifugation was found to be the most effective, straightforward, and reproducible approach, resulting in serum extracts containing over 2000 detected metabolite features and less than 2% residual protein. Interestingly, the combination of all approaches produced over 10,000 unique metabolite features, a number that is indicative of the complexity of the human metabolome and the potential of metabolomics in biomarker discovery.