A highly sensitive targeted mass spectrometric assay for quantification of AGR2 protein in human urine and serum.
ABSTRACT: Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2) is a secreted, cancer-associated protein in many types of epithelial cancer cells. We developed a highly sensitive targeted mass spectrometric assay for quantification of AGR2 in urine and serum. Digested peptides from clinical samples were processed by PRISM (high pressure and high resolution separations coupled with intelligent selection and multiplexing), which incorporates high pH reversed-phase liquid chromatography (LC) separations to fractionate and select target fractions for follow-on LC-selected reaction monitoring (LC-SRM) analyses. The PRISM-SRM assay for AGR2 showed a reproducibility of <10% CV and limit of quantification (LOQ) values of ∼130 pg/mL in serum and ∼10 pg per 100 μg of total protein mass in urine, respectively. A good correlation (R(2) = 0.91) was observed for the measurable AGR2 concentrations in urine between SRM and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). On the basis of an initial cohort of 37 subjects, urinary AGR2/PSA concentration ratios showed a significant difference (P = 0.026) between noncancer and cancer. Large clinical cohort studies are needed for the validation of AGR2 as a useful diagnostic biomarker for prostate cancer. Our work validated the approach of identifying candidate secreted protein biomarkers through genomics and measurement by targeted proteomics, especially for proteins where no immunoassays are available.
Project description:We recently reported an antibody-free targeted protein quantification strategy, termed high-pressure, high-resolution separations with intelligent selection and multiplexing (PRISM), for achieving significantly enhanced sensitivity using selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry. Integrating PRISM with front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion, sensitive detection of targeted proteins at 50-100 pg/mL levels in human blood plasma/serum was demonstrated. However, immunoaffinity depletion is often associated with undesired losses of target proteins of interest. Herein we report further evaluation of PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance serum proteins without immunoaffinity depletion. Limits of quantification (LOQ) at low ng/mL levels with a median coefficient of variation (CV) of ?12% were achieved for proteins spiked into human female serum. PRISM-SRM provided >100-fold improvement in the LOQ when compared to conventional LC-SRM measurements. PRISM-SRM was then applied to measure several low-abundance endogenous serum proteins, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA), in clinical prostate cancer patient sera. PRISM-SRM enabled confident detection of all target endogenous serum proteins except the low pg/mL-level cardiac troponin T. A correlation coefficient >0.99 was observed for PSA between the results from PRISM-SRM and immunoassays. Our results demonstrate that PRISM-SRM can successfully quantify low ng/mL proteins in human plasma or serum without depletion. We anticipate broad applications for PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance proteins in candidate biomarker verification and systems biology studies.
Project description:Sensitive detection of low-abundance proteins in complex biological samples has typically been achieved by immunoassays that use antibodies specific to target proteins; however, de novo development of antibodies is associated with high costs, long development lead times, and high failure rates. To address these challenges, we developed an antibody-free strategy that involves PRISM (high-pressure, high-resolution separations coupled with intelligent selection and multiplexing) for sensitive selected reaction monitoring (SRM)-based targeted protein quantification. The strategy capitalizes on high-resolution reversed-phase liquid chromatographic separations for analyte enrichment, intelligent selection of target fractions via on-line SRM monitoring of internal standards, and fraction multiplexing before nano-liquid chromatography-SRM quantification. Application of this strategy to human plasma/serum demonstrated accurate and reproducible quantification of proteins at concentrations in the 50-100 pg/mL range, which represents a major advance in the sensitivity of targeted protein quantification without the need for specific-affinity reagents. Application to a set of clinical serum samples illustrated an excellent correlation between the results obtained from the PRISM-SRM assay and those from clinical immunoassay for the prostate-specific antigen level.
Project description:Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2) is a cancer-associated secreted protein found predominantly in adenocarcinomas. Given its ubiquity in solid tumors, cancer-secreted AGR2 could be a useful biomarker in urine or blood for early detection. However, normal organs express and might also secrete AGR2, which would impact its utility as a cancer biomarker. Uniform AGR2 expression is found in the normal bladder urothelium. Little AGR2 is secreted by the urothelial cells as no measurable amounts could be detected in urine. The urinary proteomes of healthy people contain no listing for AGR2. Likewise, the blood proteomes of healthy people also contain no significant peptide counts for AGR2 suggesting little urothelial secretion into capillaries of the lamina propria. Expression of AGR2 is lost in urothelial carcinoma, with only 25% of primary tumors observed to retain AGR2 expression in a cohort of lymph node-positive cases. AGR2 is secreted by the urothelial carcinoma cells as urinary AGR2 was measured in the voided urine of 25% of the cases analyzed in a cohort of cancer vs. non-cancer patients. The fraction of AGR2-positive urine samples was consistent with the fraction of urothelial carcinoma that stained positive for AGR2. Since cancer cells secrete AGR2 while normal cells do not, its measurement in body fluids could be used to indicate tumor presence. Furthermore, AGR2 has also been found on the cell surface of cancer cells. Taken together, secretion and cell surface localization of AGR2 are characteristic of cancer, while expression of AGR2 by itself is not.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The majority of breast cancer patients die of metastasis rather than primary tumors, whereas the molecular mechanisms orchestrating cancer metastasis remains poorly understood. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) have been shown to regulate cancer occurrence and progression. However, the lncRNAs that drive metastasis in cancer patients and their underlying mechanisms are still largely unknown. METHODS:lncRNAs highly expressed in metastatic lymph nodes were identified by microarray. Survival analysis were made by Kaplan-Meier method. Cell proliferation, migration, and invasion assay was performed to confirm the phenotype of LINC02273. Tail vein model and mammary fat pad model were used for in vivo study. RNA pull-down and RIP assay were used to confirm the interaction of hnRNPL and LINC02273. Chromatin isolation by RNA purification followed by sequencing (ChIRP-seq), RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, and luciferase reporter assay reveal hnRNPL-LINC02273 regulates AGR2. Antisense oligonucleotides were used for in vivo treatment. RESULTS:We identified a novel long noncoding RNA LINC02273, whose expression was significantly elevated in metastatic lesions compared to the primary tumors, by genetic screen of matched tumor samples. Increased LINC02273 promoted breast cancer metastasis in vitro and in vivo. We further showed that LINC02273 was stabilized by hnRNPL, a protein increased in metastatic lesions, in breast cancer cells. Mechanistically, hnRNPL-LINC02273 formed a complex which activated AGR2 transcription and promoted cancer metastasis. The recruitment of hnRNPL-LINC02273 complex to AGR2 promoter region epigenetically upregulated AGR2 by augmenting local H3K4me3 and H3K27ac levels. Combination of AGR2 and LINC02273 was an independent prognostic factor for predicting breast cancer patient survival. Moreover, our data revealed that LINC02273-targeting antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) substantially inhibited breast cancer metastasis in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings uncover a key role of LINC02273-hnRNPL-AGR2 axis in breast cancer metastasis and provide potential novel therapeutic targets for metastatic breast cancer intervention.
Project description:Long-gradient separations coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS) were recently demonstrated to provide a deep proteome coverage for global proteomics; however, such long-gradient separations have not been explored for targeted proteomics. Herein, we investigate the potential performance of the long-gradient separations coupled with selected reaction monitoring (LG-SRM) for targeted protein quantification. Direct comparison of LG-SRM (5 h gradient) and conventional liquid chromatography (LC)-SRM (45 min gradient) showed that the long-gradient separations significantly reduced background interference levels and provided an 8- to 100-fold improvement in limit of quantification (LOQ) for target proteins in human female serum. On the basis of at least one surrogate peptide per protein, an LOQ of 10 ng/mL was achieved for the two spiked proteins in nondepleted human serum. The LG-SRM detection of seven out of eight endogenous plasma proteins expressed at ng/mL or subng/mL levels in clinical patient sera was also demonstrated. A correlation coefficient of >0.99 was observed for the results of LG-SRM and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) measurements for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in selected patient sera. Further enhancement of LG-SRM sensitivity was achieved by applying front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion. Besides improved sensitivity, LG-SRM potentially offers much higher multiplexing capacity than conventional LC-SRM due to an increase in average peak widths (~3-fold) for a 300 min gradient compared to a 45 min gradient. Therefore, LG-SRM holds great potential for bridging the gap between global and targeted proteomics due to its advantages in both sensitivity and multiplexing capacity.
Project description:Many regulatory proteins are homo-oligomeric and designing assays that measure self-assembly will provide novel approaches to study protein allostery and screen for novel small molecule modulators of protein interactions. We present an assay to begin to define the biochemical determinants that regulate dimerization of the cancer-associated oncoprotein AGR2. A two site-sandwich microtiter assay ((2S) MTA) was designed using a DyLight800-labeled monoclonal antibody that binds to an epitope in AGR2 to screen for synthetic self-peptides that might regulate dimer stability. Peptides derived from the intrinsically disordered N-terminal region of AGR2 increase in trans oligomer stability as defined using the (2S) MTA assay. A DSS-crosslinking assay that traps the AGR2 dimer through K95-K95 adducts confirmed that ?45-AGR2 was a more stable dimer using denaturing gel electrophoresis. A titration of wt-AGR2, ?45-AGR2 (more stable dimer), and monomeric AGR2(E60A) revealed that ?45-AGR2 was more active in binding to Reptin than either wt-AGR2 or the AGR2(E60A) mutant. Our data have defined a functional role for the AGR2 dimer in the binding to its most well characterized interacting protein, Reptin. The ability to regulate AGR2 oligomerization in trans opens the possibility for developing small molecules that regulate its' biochemical activity as potential cancer therapeutics. The data also highlight the utility of this oligomerization assay to screen chemical libraries for ligands that could regulate AGR2 dimer stability and its' oncogenic potential.
Project description:RAD9A plays an important role in prostate tumorigenesis and metastasis-related phenotypes. The protein classically functions as part of the RAD9A-HUS1-RAD1 complex but can also act independently. RAD9A can selectively transactivate multiple genes, including CDKN1A and NEIL1 by binding p53-consensus sequences in or near promoters. RAD9A is overexpressed in human prostate cancer specimens and cell lines; its expression correlates with tumor progression. Silencing RAD9A in prostate cancer cells impairs their ability to form tumors in vivo and migrate as well as grow anchorage independently in vitro. We demonstrate herein that RAD9A transcriptionally controls AGR2, a gene aberrantly overexpressed in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Transient or stable knockdown of RAD9A in PC-3 cells caused downregulation of AGR2 protein abundance. Reduced AGR2 protein levels were due to lower abundance of AGR2 mRNA. The AGR2 genomic region upstream of the coding initiation site contains several p53 consensus sequences. RAD9A bound specifically to the 5'-untranslated region of AGR2 in PC-3 cells at a partial p53 consensus sequence at position +3136 downstream from the transcription start site, determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation, followed by PCR amplification. Binding of RAD9A to the p53 consensus sequence was sufficient to drive AGR2 gene transcription, shown by a luciferase reporter assay. In contrast, when the RAD9A-binding sequence on the AGR2 was mutated, no luciferase activity was detected. Knockdown of RAD9A in PC-3 cells impaired cell migration and anchorage-independent growth. However, ectopically expressed AGR2 in RAD9A-depleted PC-3 cells restored these phenotypes. Our results suggest RAD9A drives metastasis by controlling AGR2 abundance.
Project description:During cancer progression, epithelial cancer cells can be reprogrammed into mesenchymal-like cells with increased migratory potential through the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), representing an essential step of tumor progression towards metastatic state. AGR2 protein was shown to regulate several cancer-associated processes including cellular proliferation, survival and drug resistance.The expression of AGR2 was analyzed in cancer cell lines exposed to TGF-? alone or to combined treatment with TGF-? and the Erk1/2 inhibitor PD98059 or the TGF-? receptor specific inhibitor SB431542. The impact of AGR2 silencing by specific siRNAs or CRISPR/Cas9 technology on EMT was investigated by western blot analysis, quantitative PCR, immunofluorescence analysis, real-time invasion assay and adhesion assay.Induction of EMT was associated with decreased AGR2 along with changes in cellular morphology, actin reorganization, inhibition of E-cadherin and induction of the mesenchymal markers vimentin and N-cadherin in various cancer cell lines. Conversely, induction of AGR2 caused reversion of the mesenchymal phenotype back to the epithelial phenotype and re-acquisition of epithelial markers. Activated Smad and Erk signaling cascades were identified as mutually complementary pathways responsible for TGF-?-mediated inhibition of AGR2.Taken together our results highlight a crucial role for AGR2 in maintaining the epithelial phenotype by preventing the activation of key factors involved in the process of EMT.
Project description:Anterior gradient-2 (AGR2) protein mediates the formation, breakage and isomerization of disulphide bonds during protein maturation in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and contributes to the homoeostasis of the secretory pathway. AGR2 promotes tumour development and metastasis and its elevated expression is almost completely restricted to malignant tumours. Interestingly, this supposedly ER-resident protein can be localised to other compartments of cancer cells and can also be secreted into the extracellular milieu. There are emerging evidences that describe the gain-of-function activities of the extracellular AGR2, particularly in cancer development. Here, we reviewed studies detailing the expression, pathological and physiological roles associated with AGR2 and compared the duality of localization, intracellular and extracellular, with special emphasis on the later. We also discussed the possible mechanisms of AGR2 secretion as well as deliberating the functional impacts of AGR2 in cancer settings. Last, we deliberate the current therapeutic strategies and posit the potential use AGR2, as a prognosis and diagnosis marker in cancer. Biochemistry; Cancer research; Cell biology; Enzymology; Molecular biology; Oncology; Protein folding; PDI, Cancer, Secretory pathway, UPR, Protein secretion
Project description:Fusions between the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and ETS related gene (ERG) represent one of the most specific biomarkers that define a distinct molecular subtype of prostate cancer. Studies of TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusions have seldom been performed at the protein level, primarily due to the lack of high-quality antibodies suitable for quantitative studies. Herein, we applied a recently developed PRISM (high-pressure high-resolution separations with intelligent selection and multiplexing)-SRM (selected reaction monitoring) strategy for quantifying ERG protein in prostate cancer cell lines and tumors. The highly sensitive PRISM-SRM assays provided confident detection of 6 unique ERG peptides in both TMPRSS2-ERG positive cell lines and tissues, but not in cell lines or tissues lacking the TMPRSS2-ERG rearrangement, clearly indicating that ERG protein expression is significantly increased in the presence of the TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion. Significantly, our results provide evidence that two distinct ERG protein isoforms are simultaneously expressed in TMPRSS2-ERG positive samples as evidenced by the concomitant detection of two mutually exclusive peptides in two patient tumors and in the VCaP prostate cancer cell line. Three peptides, shared across almost all fusion protein products, were determined to be the most abundant peptides, providing "signature" peptides for detection of ERG over-expression resulting from TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion. The PRISM-SRM assays provide valuable tools for studying TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion protein products in prostate cancer.