Carrier-Assisted Single-Tube Processing Approach for Targeted Proteomics Analysis of Low Numbers of Mammalian Cells.
ABSTRACT: Heterogeneity in composition is inherent in all cell populations, even those containing a single cell type. Single-cell proteomics characterization of cell heterogeneity is currently achieved by antibody-based technologies, which are limited by the availability of high-quality antibodies. Herein we report a simple, easily implemented, mass spectrometry (MS)-based targeted proteomics approach, termed cLC-SRM (carrier-assisted liquid chromatography coupled to selected reaction monitoring), for reliable multiplexed quantification of proteins in low numbers of mammalian cells. We combine a new single-tube digestion protocol to process low numbers of cells with minimal loss together with sensitive LC-SRM for protein quantification. This single-tube protocol builds upon trifluoroethanol digestion and further minimizes sample losses by tube pretreatment and the addition of carrier proteins. We also optimized the denaturing temperature and trypsin concentration to significantly improve digestion efficiency. cLC-SRM was demonstrated to have sufficient sensitivity for reproducible detection of most epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway proteins expressed at levels ?30?000 and ?3000 copies per cell for 10 and 100 mammalian cells, respectively. Thus, cLC-SRM enables reliable quantification of low to moderately abundant proteins in less than 100 cells and could be broadly useful for multiplexed quantification of important proteins in small subpopulations of cells or in size-limited clinical samples. Further improvements of this method could eventually enable targeted single-cell proteomics when combined with either SRM or other emerging ultrasensitive MS detection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Speckle-type POZ protein (SPOP) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase adaptor protein that functions as a potential tumor suppressor, and SPOP mutations have been identified in ~10% of human prostate cancers. However, it remains unclear if mutant SPOP proteins can be utilized as biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis, prognosis or targeted therapy of prostate cancer. Moreover, the SPOP mutation sites are distributed in a relatively short region with multiple lysine residues, posing significant challenges for bottom-up proteomics analysis of the SPOP mutations. METHODS:To address this issue, PRISM (high-pressure, high-resolution separations coupled with intelligent selection and multiplexing)-SRM (selected reaction monitoring) mass spectrometry assays have been developed for quantifying wild-type SPOP protein and 11 prostate cancer-derived SPOP mutations. RESULTS:Despite inherent limitations due to amino acid sequence constraints, all the PRISM-SRM assays developed using Arg-C digestion showed a linear dynamic range of at least two orders of magnitude, with limits of quantification ranged from 0.1 to 1 fmol/?g of total protein in the cell lysate. Applying these SRM assays to analyze HEK293T cells with and without expression of the three most frequent SPOP mutations in prostate cancer (Y87N, F102C or F133V) led to confident detection of all three SPOP mutations in corresponding positive cell lines but not in the negative cell lines. Expression of the F133V mutation and wild-type SPOP was at much lower levels compared to that of F102C and Y87N mutations; however, at present, it is unknown if this also affects the biological activity of the SPOP protein. CONCLUSIONS:In summary, PRISM-SRM enables multiplexed, isoform-specific detection of mutant SPOP proteins in cell lysates, providing significant potential in biomarker development for prostate cancer.
Project description:Multiple (selected) reaction monitoring (MRM/SRM) of peptides is a growing technology for target protein quantification because it is more robust, precise, accurate, high-throughput, and multiplex-capable than antibody-based techniques. The technique has been applied clinically to the large-scale quantification of multiple target proteins in different types of fluids. However, previous MRM-based studies have placed less focus on sample-preparation workflow and analytical performance in the precise quantification of proteins in saliva, a noninvasively sampled body fluid. In this study, we evaluated the analytical performance of a simple and robust multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-based targeted proteomics approach incorporating liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection (LC-MRM/MS). This platform was used to quantitatively assess the biomarker potential of a group of 56 salivary proteins that have previously been associated with human cancers. To further enhance the development of this technology for assay of salivary samples, we optimized the workflow for salivary protein digestion and evaluated quantification performance, robustness and technical limitations in analyzing clinical samples. Using a clinically well-characterized cohort of two independent clinical sample sets (total n = 119), we quantitatively characterized these protein biomarker candidates in saliva specimens from controls and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients. The results clearly showed a significant elevation of most targeted proteins in saliva samples from OSCC patients compared with controls. Overall, this platform was capable of assaying the most highly multiplexed panel of salivary protein biomarkers, highlighting the clinical utility of MRM in oral cancer biomarker research.
Project description:There is an unmet technical challenge for mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic analysis of single mammalian cells. Quantitative proteomic analysis of single cells has been previously achieved by antibody-based immunoassays but is limited by the availability of high-quality antibodies. Herein we report a facile targeted MS-based proteomics method, termed cPRISM-SRM (carrier-assisted high-pressure, high-resolution separations with intelligent selection and multiplexing coupled to selected reaction monitoring), for reliable analysis of low numbers of mammalian cells. The method capitalizes on using "carrier protein" to assist processing of low numbers of cells with minimal loss, high-resolution PRISM separation for target peptide enrichment, and sensitive SRM for protein quantification. We have demonstrated that cPRISM-SRM has sufficient sensitivity to quantify proteins expressed at ?200,000 copies per cell at the single-cell level and??3000 copies per cell in 100 mammalian cells. We envision that with further improvement cPRISM-SRM has the potential to move toward targeted MS-based single-cell proteomics.
Project description:Bottom-up proteomics largely relies on tryptic peptides for protein identification and quantification. Tryptic digestion often provides limited coverage of protein sequence because of issues such as peptide length, ionization efficiency, and post-translational modification colocalization. Unfortunately, a region of interest in a protein, for example, because of proximity to an active site or the presence of important post-translational modifications, may not be covered by tryptic peptides. Detection limits, quantification accuracy, and isoform differentiation can also be improved with greater sequence coverage. Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) would also greatly benefit from being able to identify additional targetable sequences. In an attempt to improve protein sequence coverage and to target regions of proteins that do not generate useful tryptic peptides, we deployed a multiprotease strategy on the HeLa proteome. First, we used seven commercially available enzymes in single, double, and triple enzyme combinations. A total of 48 digests were performed. 5223 proteins were detected by analyzing the unfractionated cell lysate digest directly; with 42% mean sequence coverage. Additional strong-anion exchange fractionation of the most complementary digests permitted identification of over 3000 more proteins, with improved mean sequence coverage. We then constructed a web application (https://proteomics.swmed.edu/confetti) that allows the community to examine a target protein or protein isoform in order to discover the enzyme or combination of enzymes that would yield peptides spanning a certain region of interest in the sequence. Finally, we examined the use of nontryptic digests for SRM. From our strong-anion exchange fractionation data, we were able to identify three or more proteotypic SRM candidates within a single digest for 6056 genes. Surprisingly, in 25% of these cases the digest producing the most observable proteotypic peptides was neither trypsin nor Lys-C. SRM analysis of Asp-N versus tryptic peptides for eight proteins determined that Asp-N yielded higher signal in five of eight cases.
Project description:Mass spectrometry-based targeted proteomics (e.g., selected reaction monitoring, SRM) is emerging as an attractive alternative to immunoassays for protein quantification. Recently we have made significant progress in SRM sensitivity for enabling quantification of low nanograms per milliliter to sub-naograms per milliliter level proteins in nondepleted human blood plasma/serum without affinity enrichment. However, precise quantification of extremely low abundance proteins (e.g., ? 100 pg/mL in blood plasma/serum) using targeted proteomics approaches still remains challenging, especially for these samples without available antibodies for enrichment. To address this need, we have developed an antibody-independent deep-dive SRM (DD-SRM) approach that capitalizes on multidimensional high-resolution reversed-phase liquid chromatography (LC) separation for target peptide separation and enrichment combined with precise selection of target peptide fractions of interest, significantly improving SRM sensitivity by ?5 orders of magnitude when compared to conventional LC-SRM. Application of DD-SRM to human serum and tissue provides precise quantification of endogenous proteins at the ?10 pg/mL level in nondepleted serum and at <10 copies per cell level in tissue. Thus, DD-SRM holds great promise for precisely measuring extremely low abundance proteins or protein modifications, especially when high-quality antibodies are not available.
Project description:Background:Glandular trichomes found in vascular plants are called natural cell factories because they synthesize and store secondary metabolites in glandular cells. To systematically understand the metabolic processes in glandular cells, it is indispensable to analyze cellular proteome dynamics. The conventional proteomics methods based on mass spectrometry have enabled large-scale protein analysis, but require a large number of trichome samples for in-depth analysis and are not suitable for rapid and sensitive quantification of targeted proteins. Results:Here, we present a high-throughput strategy for quantifying targeted proteins in specific trichome glandular cells, using selected reaction monitoring (SRM) assays. The SRM assay platform, targeting proteins in type VI trichome gland cells of tomato as a model system, demonstrated its effectiveness in quantifying multiple proteins from a limited amount of sample. The large-scale SRM assay uses a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer connected online to a nanoflow liquid chromatograph, which accurately measured the expression levels of 221 targeted proteins contained in the glandular cell sample recovered from 100 glandular trichomes within 120 min. Comparative quantitative proteomics using SRM assays of type VI trichome gland cells between different organs (leaves, green fruits, and calyx) revealed specific organ-enriched proteins. Conclusions:We present a targeted proteomics approach using the established SRM assays which enables quantification of proteins of interest with minimum sampling effort. The remarkable success of the SRM assay and its simple experimental workflow will increase proteomics research in glandular trichomes.
Project description:Targeted proteomics technique has emerged as a powerful protein quantification tool in systems biology, biomedical research, and increasing for clinical applications. The most widely used targeted proteomics approach, selected reaction monitoring (SRM), also known as multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), can be used for quantification of cellular signaling networks and preclinical verification of candidate protein biomarkers. As an extension to our previous review on advances in SRM sensitivity (Shi et al., Proteomics, 12, 1074-1092, 2012) herein we review recent advances in the method and technology for further enhancing SRM sensitivity (from 2012 to present), and highlighting its broad biomedical applications in human bodily fluids, tissue and cell lines. Furthermore, we also review two recently introduced targeted proteomics approaches, parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) and data-independent acquisition (DIA) with targeted data extraction on fast scanning high-resolution accurate-mass (HR/AM) instruments. Such HR/AM targeted quantification with monitoring all target product ions addresses SRM limitations effectively in specificity and multiplexing; whereas when compared to SRM, PRM and DIA are still in the infancy with a limited number of applications. Thus, for HR/AM targeted quantification we focus our discussion on method development, data processing and analysis, and its advantages and limitations in targeted proteomics. Finally, general perspectives on the potential of achieving both high sensitivity and high sample throughput for large-scale quantification of hundreds of target proteins are discussed.
Project description:Stable isotope-labeled standard (SIS) peptides are used as internal standards in targeted proteomics to provide robust protein quantification, which is required in clinical settings. However, SIS peptides are typically added post trypsin digestion and, as the digestion efficiency can vary significantly between peptides within a protein, the accuracy and precision of the assay may be compromised. These drawbacks can be remedied by a new class of internal standards introduced by the Human Protein Atlas project, which are based on SIS recombinant protein fragments called SIS PrESTs. SIS PrESTs are added initially to the sample and SIS peptides are released on trypsin digestion. The SIS PrEST technology is promising for absolute quantification of protein biomarkers but has not previously been evaluated in a clinical setting. An automated and scalable solid phase extraction workflow for desalting and enrichment of plasma digests was established enabling simultaneous preparation of up to 96 samples. Robust high-precision quantification of 13 apolipoproteins was achieved using a novel multiplex SIS PrEST-based LC-SRM/MS Tier 2 assay in non-depleted human plasma. The assay exhibited inter-day coefficients of variation between 1.5% and 14.5% (median = 3.5%) and was subsequently used to investigate the effects of omega-3 carboxylic acids (OM3-CA) and fenofibrate on these 13 apolipoproteins in human plasma samples from a randomized placebo-controlled trial, EFFECT I (NCT02354976). No significant changes were observed in the OM3-CA arm, whereas treatment with fenofibrate significantly increased apoAII and reduced apoB, apoCI, apoE and apoCIV levels. The reduction in apoCIV following fenofibrate treatment is a novel finding. The study demonstrates that SIS PrESTs can facilitate the generation of robust multiplexed biomarker Tier 2 assays for absolute quantification of proteins in clinical studies.
Project description:Over the last few decades, mass spectrometry-based proteomics has become an increasingly powerful tool that is now able to routinely detect and quantify thousands of proteins. A major advance for global protein quantification was the introduction of isobaric tags, which, in a single experiment, enabled the global quantification of proteins across multiple samples. Herein, these methods are referred to as multiplexed proteomics. The principles, advantages, and drawbacks of various multiplexed proteomics techniques are discussed and compared with alternative approaches. We also discuss how the emerging combination of multiplexing with targeted proteomics might enable the reliable and high-quality quantification of very low abundance proteins across multiple conditions. Lastly, we suggest that fusing multiplexed proteomics with data-independent acquisition approaches might enable the comparison of hundreds of different samples without missing values, while maintaining the superb measurement precision and accuracy obtainable with isobaric tag quantification.
Project description:Sample preparation for protein quantification by mass spectrometry requires multiple processing steps including denaturation, reduction, alkylation, protease digestion, and peptide cleanup. Scaling these procedures for the analysis of numerous complex biological samples can be tedious and time-consuming, as there are many liquid transfer steps and timed reactions where technical variations can be introduced and propagated. We established an automated sample preparation workflow with a total processing time for 96 samples of 5 h, including a 2 h incubation with trypsin. Peptide cleanup is accomplished by online diversion during the LC/MS/MS analysis. In a selected reaction monitoring (SRM) assay targeting 6 plasma biomarkers and spiked ?-galactosidase, mean intraday and interday cyclic voltammograms (CVs) for 5 serum and 5 plasma samples over 5 days were <20%. In a highly multiplexed SRM assay targeting more than 70 proteins, 90% of the transitions from 6 plasma samples repeated on 3 separate days had total CVs below 20%. Similar results were obtained when the workflow was transferred to a second site: 93% of peptides had CVs below 20%. An automated trypsin digestion workflow yields uniformly processed samples in less than 5 h. Reproducible quantification of peptides was observed across replicates, days, instruments, and laboratory sites, demonstrating the broad applicability of this approach.