A predictive model for vertebrate bone identification from collagen using proteomic mass spectrometry
Proteogenomics is an increasingly common method for species identification as it allows for rapid and inexpensive interrogation of an unknown organism's proteome-even when the proteome is partially degraded. The proteomic method typically uses tandem mass spectrometry to survey all peptides detectable in a sample that frequently contains hundreds or thousands of proteins. Species identification is based on detection of a small numbers of species-specific peptides. Genetic analysis of proteins by mass spectrometry, however, is a developing field, and the bone proteome, typically consisting of only two proteins, pushes the limits of this technology. Nearly 20% of highly confident spectra from modern human bone samples identify non-human species when searched against a vertebrate database-as would be necessary with a fragment of unknown bone. These non-human peptides are often the result of current limitations in mass spectrometry or algorithm interpretation errors. Consequently, it is difficult to know if a "species-specific" peptide used to identify a sample is actually present in that sample. Here we evaluate the causes of peptide sequence errors and propose an unbiased, probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that a species is correctly identified from bone without relying on species-specific peptides.
Body fluid identification by mass spectrometry
Standard methods for body fluid identification typically rely on detection of the functional proteins specific to or enriched in them, such as hemoglobin in blood, alkaline phosphatase and PSA in semen, or alpha-amylase in saliva. While these markers can be relatively specific, the multiple methods used to identify them frequently rely on nonspecific chemical, enzymatic, or antibody reactions that usually require the structural integrity of the markers and are not confirmatory because other proteins or substances can also give positive test results. Recent advances in proteomics and mass spectrometry offer the ability to simultaneously detect multiple body fluid protein markers in a single, confirmatory test. Here, multiple markers for blood, saliva, and semen are identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS). Data demonstrate the ability to detect these body fluids at nanoliter to subnanoliter levels and to distinguish mixtures. Protein stability of mock samples assayed after 16 months showed no diminution of signal. Because multiple peptides from multiple protein markers are detected and effectively sequenced by MALDI MS/MS, the assay is confirmatory. As mass spectrometry detects whatever peptides are present in a sample, no a priori knowledge of an unknown stain is necessary to perform the test.
Proteomic analysis of menstrual blood
Menstruation is the expulsion of the endometrial lining of the uterus following a nearly month long preparation for embryo implantation and pregnancy. Increasingly, the health of the endometrium is being recognized as a critical factor in female fertility, and proteomes and transcriptomes from endometrial biopsies at different stages of the menstrual cycle have been studied for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes (1 Kao, L. C., et al. 2003 Endocrinology 144, 2870-2881; Strowitzki, Tet al. 2006 Hum. Reprod. Update 12, 617-630; DeSouza, L., et al. 2005 Proteomics 5, 270-281). Disorders of the uterus ranging from benign to malignant tumors, as well as endometriosis, can cause abnormal menstrual bleeding and are frequently diagnosed through endometrial biopsy (Strowitzki, Tet al. 2006 Hum. Reprod. Update 12, 617-630; Ferenczy, A. 2003 Maturitas 45, 1-14). Yet the proteome of menstrual blood, an easily available noninvasive source of endometrial tissue, has yet to be examined for possible causes or diagnoses of infertility or endometrial pathology. This study employed five different methods to define the menstrual blood proteome. A total of 1061 proteins were identified, 361 were found by at least two methods and 678 were identified by at least two peptides. When the menstrual blood proteome was compared with those of circulating blood (1774 proteins) and vaginal fluid (823 proteins), 385 proteins were found unique to menstrual blood. Gene ontology analysis and evaluation of these specific menstrual blood proteins identified pathways consistent with the processes of the normal endometrial cycle. Several of the proteins unique to menstrual blood suggest that extramedullary uterine hematopoiesis or parenchymal hemoglobin synthesis may be occurring in late endometrial tissue. The establishment of a normal menstrual blood proteome is necessary for the evaluation of its usefulness as a diagnostic tool for infertility and uterine pathologies. Identification of unique menstrual blood proteins should aid the forensic community in distinguishing menstrual blood from circulating blood.
Negative role of RIG-I serine 8 phosphorylation in the regulation of interferon-beta production
RIG-I (retinoic acid-inducible gene I) and TRIM25 (tripartite motif protein 25) have emerged as key regulatory factors to induce interferon (IFN)-mediated innate immune responses to limit viral replication. Upon recognition of viral RNA, TRIM25 E3 ligase binds the first caspase recruitment domain (CARD) of RIG-I and subsequently induces lysine 172 ubiquitination of the second CARD of RIG-I, which is essential for the interaction with downstream MAVS/IPS-1/CARDIF/VISA and, thereby, IFN-beta mRNA production. Although ubiquitination has emerged as a major factor involved in RIG-I activation, the potential contribution of other post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, to the regulation of RIG-I activity has not been addressed. Here, we report the identification of serine 8 phosphorylation at the first CARD of RIG-I as a negative regulatory mechanism of RIG-I-mediated IFN-beta production. Immunoblot analysis with a phosphospecific antibody showed that RIG-I serine 8 phosphorylation steady-state levels were decreased upon stimulation of cells with IFN-beta or virus infection. Substitution of serine 8 in the CARD RIG-I functional domain with phosphomimetic aspartate or glutamate results in decreased TRIM25 binding, RIG-I ubiquitination, MAVS binding, and downstream signaling. Finally, sequence comparison reveals that only primate species carry serine 8, whereas other animal species carry an asparagine, indicating that serine 8 phosphorylation may represent a primate-specific regulation of RIG-I activation. Collectively, these data suggest that the phosphorylation of RIG-I serine 8 operates as a negative switch of RIG-I activation by suppressing TRIM25 interaction, further underscoring the importance of RIG-I and TRIM25 connection in type I IFN signal transduction.
Employing a recombinant HLA-DR3 expression system to dissect major histocompatibility complex II-thyroglobulin peptide dynamism: a genetic, biochemical, and reverse immunological perspective
Previously, we have shown that statistical synergism between amino acid variants in thyroglobulin (Tg) and specific HLA-DR3 pocket sequence signatures conferred a high risk for autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). Therefore, we hypothesized that this statistical synergism mirrors a biochemical interaction between Tg peptides and HLA-DR3, which is key to the pathoetiology of AITD. To test this hypothesis, we designed a recombinant HLA-DR3 expression system that was used to express HLA-DR molecules harboring either AITD susceptibility or resistance DR pocket sequences. Next, we biochemically generated the potential Tg peptidic repertoire available to HLA-DR3 by separately treating 20 purified human thyroglobulin samples with cathepsins B, D, or L, lysosomal proteases that are involved in antigen processing and thyroid biology. Sequences of the cathepsin-generated peptides were then determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight-mass spectroscopy, and algorithmic means were employed to identify putative AITD-susceptible HLA-DR3 binders. From four predicted peptides, we identified two novel peptides that bound strongly and specifically to both recombinant AITD-susceptible HLA-DR3 protein and HLA-DR3 molecules expressed on stably transfected cells. Intriguingly, the HLA-DR3-binding peptides we identified had a marked preference for the AITD-susceptibility DR signatures and not to those signatures that were AITD-protective. Structural analyses demonstrated the profound influence that the pocket signatures have on the interaction of HLA-DR molecules with Tg peptides. Our study suggests that interactions between Tg and discrete HLA-DR pocket signatures contribute to the initiation of AITD.
Mass spectrometric analysis reveals a functionally important PKA phosphorylation site in a Kir3 channel subunit
Phosphorylation of the Kir3 channel by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) potentiates activity and strengthens channel-PIP(2) interactions, whereas phosphorylation by protein kinase C (PKC) exerts the opposite effects (Keselman et al., Channels 1:113-123, 2007; Lopes et al., Channels 1:124-134, 2007). Unequivocal identification of phosphorylated residues in ion channel proteins has been difficult, but recent advances in mass spectrometry techniques have allowed precise identification of phosphorylation sites (Park et al., Science 313:976-979, 2006). In this study, we utilized mass spectrometry to identify phosphorylation sites within the Kir3.1 channel subunit. We focused on the Kir3.1 C-terminal cytosolic domain that has been reported to be regulated by several modulators. In vitro phosphorylation by PKA exhibited a convincing signal upon treatment with a phosphoprotein stain. The phosphorylated C terminus was subjected to mass spectrometric analysis using matrix-assisted lased desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectroscopy (MS). Peptides whose mass underwent a shift corresponding to addition of a phosphate group were then subjected to tandem MS (MS/MS) in order to confirm the modification and determine its precise location. Using this approach, we identified S385 as an in vitro phosphorylation site. Mutation of this residue to alanine resulted in a reduced sensitivity of Kir3.1* currents to H89 and Forskolin, confirming an in vivo role for this novel site of the Kir3.1 channel subunit in its regulation by PKA.
Aryl vinyl sulfonates and sulfones as active site-directed and mechanism-based probes for protein tyrosine phosphatases
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) play key roles in the regulation of normal and pathological processes ranging from cell proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, and survival to many human diseases including cancer and diabetes. Functional studies of PTP can be greatly facilitated by small molecule probes that covalently label the active site of a PTP through an activity-dependent chemical reaction. In this article, we characterize phenyl vinyl sulfonate (PVSN) and phenyl vinyl sulfone (PVS) as a new class of mechanism-based PTP probes. PVSN and PVS inactivate a broad range of PTPs in a time- and concentration-dependent fashion. The PVSN- and PVS-mediated PTP inactivation is active site-directed and irreversible, resulting from a Michael addition of the active-site Cys Sgamma onto the terminal carbon of the vinyl group. Structural and mechanistic analyses reveal the molecular basis for the preference of PVSN/PVS toward the PTPs, which lies in the ability of PVSN and PVS to engage the conserved structural and catalytic machinery of the PTP active site. In contrast to early alpha-bromobenzyl phosphonate-based probes, PVSN and PVS are resistant to solvolysis and are cell-permeable and thus hold promise for in vivo applications. Collectively, these properties bode well for the development of aryl vinyl sulfonate/sulfone-based PTP probes to interrogate PTP activity in complex proteomes.
Seminal plasma reduces the effectiveness of topical polyanionic microbicides
The objective of this study was to test the activity of microbicides against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) introduced in seminal plasma. We found that seminal plasma interfered with the activity of PRO 2000 and of cellulose sulfate, increasing by 100-fold the concentration of drug required to inhibit 90% of viral plaque formation. Seminal plasma competitively inhibited binding of the microbicides to the HSV-2 envelope. Most of the interference was found in a high molecular-weight fraction; tandem mass spectrometry identified the proteins as fibronectin-1 and lactoferrin. In a murine model, the interference translated in vivo into a loss in protection. We found that 2% PRO 2000 gel protected 100% of mice challenged intravaginally with HSV-2 introduced in PBS, whereas only 55% of mice were protected if virus was introduced in seminal plasma (P=.0007, log rank test). If these findings are reflective of what occurs in humans, modifications to microbicides to ensure that they retain activity in the presence of seminal plasma are indicated.
Global analysis of protein tyrosine phosphatase activity with ultra-sensitive fluorescent probes
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) consist of a large family of enzymes known to play important roles in controlling virtually all aspects of cellular processes. However, assigning functional significance of PTPs in normal physiology and in diseases remains a major challenge in cell signaling. Since the function of a PTP is directly associated with its intrinsic activity, which is subject to post-translational regulation, new tools are needed to monitor the dynamic activities of PTPs, rather than mere abundance, on a global scale within the physiologically relevant environment of cells. To meet this objective, we report the synthesis and characterization of two rhodamine-conjugated probes that covalently label the active site of the PTPs in an activity-dependent manner, thus providing a direct readout of PTP activity and superior sensitivity, robustness, and quantifiability to previously reported biotinylated probes. We present evidence that the fluorescent probes can be used to identify new PTP markers and targets for potential diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. We also show that the fluorescent probes are capable of monitoring H(2)O(2)-mediated PTP inactivation, which should facilitate the study of regulated H(2)O(2) production as a new tier of control over tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent signal transduction. The ability to profile the entire PTP family on the basis of changes in their activity is expected to yield new functional insights into pathways regulated by PTPs and contribute to the discovery of PTPs as novel therapeutic targets.
Kinetic analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa arginine deiminase mutants and alternate substrates provides insight into structural determinants of function
L-Arginine deiminase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PaADI) catalyzes the hydrolysis of arginine to citrulline and ammonia. PaADI belongs to the guanidino group-modifying enzyme superfamily (GMSF), which conserves backbone fold and a Cys-, His-, and Asp-based catalytic core. In this paper the contributions made by the PaADI core residues Cys406, His278, and Asp166 and the contribution from the neighboring Asp280 (conserved in most but not all GMSF members) to catalysis of the formation and hydrolysis of the Cys406-alkyluronium intermediate were accessed by kinetic analysis of site-directed mutants. In addition, solution hydrolysis in a chemical model of the S-alkylthiouronium intermediate was examined to reveal the importance of general base catalysis in the enzymatic reaction. Substitutions of the active site gating residue Arg401, the l-arginine C(alpha)NH(3)(+)(COO(-)) binding residues, Arg185, Arg243, and Asn160, or the His278 hydrogen bond partner, Glu224, were found to cause dramatic reductions in the enzyme turnover rate. These results are interpreted to suggest that electrostatic interactions play a dominant role in PaADI catalysis. Structural variations observed in P. aeruginosa GMSF enzymes PaADI, agmatine deiminase (PaAgDI), and N(omega),N(omega)-dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (PaDDAH) indicate an early divergence of the encoding genes. Arginine analogues that are known substrates for PaAgDI and PaDDAH were tested with PaADI to define clear boundaries of biochemical function in the three hydrolases. The conservation of a catalytic core associated with the common chemical function and the divergence of substrate-binding residues (as well as one key catalytic residue) to expand the substrate range provide insight into the evolution of the catalysts that form the GMSF.