Analysis of peptides secreted from cultured mouse brain tissue
Peptides represent a major class of cell-cell signaling molecules. Most peptidomic studies have focused on peptides present in brain or other tissues. For a peptide to function in intercellular signaling, it must be secreted. The present study was undertaken to identify the major peptides secreted from mouse brain slices that were cultured in oxygenated buffer for 3-4h. Approximately 75% of the peptides identified in extracts of cultured slices matched the previously reported peptide content of heat-inactivated mouse brain tissue, whereas only 2% matched the peptide content of unheated brain tissue; the latter showed a large number of postmortem changes. As found with extracts of heat-inactivated mouse brain, the extracts of cultured brain slices represented secretory pathway peptides as well as peptides derived from intracellular proteins such as those present in the cytosol and mitochondria. A subset of the peptides detected in the extracts of the cultured slices was detected in the culture media. The vast majority of secreted peptides arose from intracellular proteins and not secretory pathway proteins. The peptide RVD-hemopressin, a CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist, was detected in culture media, which is consistent with a role for RVD-hemopressin as a non-classical neuropeptide. Taken together with previous studies, the present results show that short-term culture of mouse brain slices is an appropriate system to study peptide secretion, especially the non-conventional pathway(s) by which peptides produced from intracellular proteins are secreted. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: An Updated Secretome.
Alterations of the intracellular peptidome in response to the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib
Bortezomib is an antitumor drug that competitively inhibits proteasome beta-1 and beta-5 subunits. While the impact of bortezomib on protein stability is known, the effect of this drug on intracellular peptides has not been previously explored. A quantitative peptidomics technique was used to examine the effect of treating human embryonic kidney 293T (HEK293T) cells with 5-500 nM bortezomib for various lengths of time (30 minutes to 16 hours), and human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with 500 nM bortezomib for 1 hour. Although bortezomib treatment decreased the levels of some intracellular peptides, the majority of peptides were increased by 50-500 nM bortezomib. Peptides requiring cleavage at acidic and hydrophobic sites, which involve beta-1 and -5 proteasome subunits, were among those elevated by bortezomib. In contrast, the proteasome inhibitor epoxomicin caused a decrease in the levels of many of these peptides. Although bortezomib can induce autophagy under certain conditions, the rapid bortezomib-mediated increase in peptide levels did not correlate with the induction of autophagy. Taken together, the present data indicate that bortezomib alters the balance of intracellular peptides, which may contribute to the biological effects of this drug.
Peptidomic analysis of HEK293T cells: effect of the proteasome inhibitor epoxomicin on intracellular peptides
Peptides derived from cytosolic, mitochondrial, and nuclear proteins have been detected in extracts of animal tissues and cell lines. To test whether the proteasome is involved in their formation, HEK293T cells were treated with epoxomicin (0.2 or 2 Î¼M) for 1 h and quantitative peptidomics analysis was performed. Altogether, 147 unique peptides were identified by mass spectrometry sequence analysis. Epoxomicin treatment decreased the levels of the majority of intracellular peptides, consistent with inhibition of the proteasome beta-2 and beta-5 subunits. Treatment with the higher concentration of epoxomicin elevated the levels of some peptides. Most of the elevated peptides resulted from cleavages at acidic residues, suggesting that epoxomicin increased the processing of proteins through the beta-1 subunit. Interestingly, some of the peptides that were elevated by the epoxomicin treatment had hydrophobic residues in P1 cleavage sites. Taken together, these findings suggest that, while the proteasome is the major source of intracellular peptides, other peptide-generating mechanisms exist. Because intracellular peptides are likely to perform intracellular functions, studies using proteasome inhibitors need to be interpreted with caution, as it is possible that the effects of these inhibitors are due to a change in the peptide levels rather than inhibition of protein degradation.
Quantitative peptidomics to measure neuropeptide levels in animal models relevant to psychiatric disorders
Neuropeptides play many important roles in cell-cell signaling and are involved in the control of anxiety, depression, pain, reward pathways, and many other processes that are relevant to psychiatric disorders. Mass spectrometry-based peptidomics techniques can identify the precise forms of peptides that are present in a given tissue. Utilizing this technique, peptides with any posttranslational modifications can be identified, and the exact sequence of the peptides can be determined. Unlike radioimmunoassays, which are limited by specific antibodies and often cannot discriminate between different lengths of peptides from the same precursor, peptidomics reveals the precise sequence and allows for the identification of both known and novel peptides. The use of isotopic labels allows for quantitative peptidomics, which results in the ability to compare peptide levels between differently treated samples. These tags can be synthesized in five different isotopic forms, permitting multivariate analysis of up to five different groups of tissue extracts in a single liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry run; this is ideal for measuring changes in neuropeptides in animals subjected to drug treatments, or in comparing animal models of psychiatric disorders.
Peptidomic analysis of human cell lines
Peptides have been proposed to function in intracellular signaling within the cytosol. Although cytosolic peptides are considered to be highly unstable, a large number of peptides have been detected in mouse brain and other biological samples. In the present study, we evaluated the peptidome of three diverse cell lines: SH-SY5Y, MCF7, and HEK293 cells. A comparison of the peptidomes revealed considerable overlap in the identity of the peptides found in each cell line. The majority of the observed peptides are not derived from the most abundant or least stable proteins in the cell, and approximately half of the cellular peptides correspond to the N- or C- termini of the precursor proteins. Cleavage site analysis revealed a preference for hydrophobic residues in the P1 position. Quantitative peptidomic analysis indicated that the levels of most cellular peptides are not altered in response to elevated intracellular calcium, suggesting that calpain is not responsible for their production. The similarity of the peptidomes of the three cell lines and the lack of correlation with the predicted cellular degradome implies the selective formation or retention of these peptides, consistent with the hypothesis that they are functional in the cells.
Hemopressin and other bioactive peptides from cytosolic proteins: are these non-classical neuropeptides?
Peptides perform many roles in cell-cell signaling; examples include neuropeptides, hormones, and growth factors. Although the vast majority of known neuropeptides are produced in the secretory pathway, a number of bioactive peptides are derived from cytosolic proteins. For example, the hemopressins are a family of peptides derived from alpha and beta hemoglobin which bind to the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, functioning as agonists or antagonists/inverse agonists depending on the size of the peptide. However, the finding that peptides derived from cytosolic proteins can affect receptors does not prove that these peptides are true endogenous signaling molecules. In order for the hemopressins and other peptides derived from cytosolic proteins to be considered neuropeptide-like signaling molecules, they must be synthesized in brain, they must be secreted in levels sufficient to produce effects, and either their synthesis or secretion should be regulated. If these criteria are met, we propose the name "non-classical neuropeptide" for this category of cytosolic bioactive peptide. This would be analogous to the non-classical neurotransmitters, such as nitric oxide and anandamide, which are not stored in secretory vesicles and released upon stimulation but are synthesized upon stimulation and constitutively released. We review some examples of cytosolic peptides from various protein precursors, describe potential mechanisms of their biosynthesis and secretion, and discuss the possibility that these peptides are signaling molecules in the brain, focusing on the criteria that these peptides would have to fill in order to be considered non-classical neuropeptides.
Hemopressins and other hemoglobin-derived peptides in mouse brain: comparison between brain, blood, and heart peptidome and regulation in Cpefat/fat mice
Many hemoglobin-derived peptides are present in mouse brain, and several of these have bioactive properties including the hemopressins, a related series of peptides that bind to cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Although hemoglobin is a major component of red blood cells, it is also present in neurons and glia. To examine whether the hemoglobin-derived peptides in brain are similar to those present in blood and heart, we used a peptidomics approach involving mass spectrometry. Many hemoglobin-derived peptides are found only in brain and not in blood, whereas all hemoglobin-derived peptides found in heart were also seen in blood. Thus, it is likely that the majority of the hemoglobin-derived peptides detected in brain are produced from brain hemoglobin and not erythrocytes. We also examined if the hemopressins and other major hemoglobin-derived peptides were regulated in the Cpe(fat/fat) mouse; previously these mice were reported to have elevated levels of several hemoglobin-derived peptides. Many, but not all of the hemoglobin-derived peptides were elevated in several brain regions of the Cpe(fat/fat) mouse. Taken together, these findings suggest that the post-translational processing of alpha and beta hemoglobin into the hemopressins, as well as other peptides, is up-regulated in some but not all Cpe(fat/fat) mouse brain regions.