Small-protein enrichment assay enables the rapid, unbiased analysis of over 100 low abundance factors from human plasma.
Unbiased and sensitive quantification of low abundance small proteins in human plasma (e.g. hormones, immune factors, metabolic regulators) remains an unmet need. These small protein factors are typically analysed individually and using antibodies that can lack specificity. Mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics has the potential to address these problems, however the analysis of plasma by MS is plagued by the extremely large dynamic range of this body fluid, with protein abundances spanning at least 13 orders of magnitude. Here we describe an enrichment assay (SPEA), that greatly simplifies the plasma dynamic range problem by enriching small-proteins of 2-10 kDa, enabling the rapid, specific and sensitive quantification of >100 small-protein factors in a single untargeted LC-MS/MS acquisition. Applying this method to perform deep-proteome profiling of human plasma we identify C5ORF46 as a previously uncharacterized human plasma protein. We further demonstrate the reproducibility of our workflow for low abundance protein analysis using a stable-isotope labelled protein standard of insulin spiked into human plasma. SPEA provides the ability to study numerous important hormones in a single rapid assay, which we applied to study the intermittent fasting response and observed several unexpected changes including decreased plasma abundance of the iron homeostasis regulator hepcidin.
Proteomic Analysis of Human Plasma During
Intermittent fasting (IF) increases lifespan and decreases metabolic disease phenotypes and cancer risk in model organisms, but the health benefits of IF in humans are less clear. Human plasma derived from clinical trials is one of the most difficult sample sets to analyze using mass spectrometry-based proteomics due to the extensive sample preparation required and the need to process many samples to achieve statistical significance. Here, we describe an optimized and accessible device (Spin96) to accommodate up to 96 StageTips, a widely used sample preparation medium enabling efficient and consistent processing of samples prior to LC-MS/MS. We have applied this device to the analysis of human plasma from a clinical trial of IF. In this longitudinal study employing 8-weeks IF, we identified significant abundance differences induced by the IF intervention, including increased apolipoprotein A4 (APOA4) and decreased apolipoprotein C2 (APOC2) and C3 (APOC3). These changes correlated with a significant decrease in plasma triglycerides after the IF intervention. Given that these proteins have a role in regulating apolipoprotein particle metabolism, we propose that IF had a positive effect on lipid metabolism through modulation of HDL particle size and function. In addition, we applied a novel human protein variant database to detect common protein variants across the participants. We show that consistent detection of clinically-relevant peptides derived from both alleles of many proteins is possible, including some that are associated with human metabolic phenotypes. Together, these findings illustrate the power of accessible workflows for proteomics analysis of clinical samples to yield significant biological insight.
Efficient analysis of mammalian polysomes in cells and tissues using Ribo Mega-SEC
We describe Ribo Mega-SEC, a powerful approach for the separation and biochemical analysis of mammalian polysomes and ribosomal subunits using Size Exclusion Chromatography and uHPLC. Using extracts from either cells, or tissues, polysomes can be separated within 15 min from sample injection to fraction collection. Ribo Mega-SEC shows translating ribosomes exist predominantly in polysome complexes in human cell lines and mouse liver tissue. Changes in polysomes are easily quantified between treatments, such as the cellular response to amino acid starvation. Ribo Mega-SEC is shown to provide an efficient, convenient and highly reproducible method for studying functional translation complexes. We show that Ribo Mega-SEC is readily combined with high-throughput MS-based proteomics to characterize proteins associated with polysomes and ribosomal subunits. It also facilitates isolation of complexes for electron microscopy and structural studies.
REVIEW - Multidimensional proteomics for cell biology
The proteome is a dynamic system in which each protein has interconnected properties - dimensions - that together contribute to the phenotype of a cell. Measuring these properties has proved challenging owing to their diversity and dynamic nature. Advances in mass spectrometry-based proteomics now enable the measurement of multiple properties for thousands of proteins, including their abundance, isoform expression, turnover rate, subcellular localization, post-translational modifications and interactions. Complementing these experimental developments are new data analysis, integration and visualization tools as well as data-sharing resources. Together, these advances in the multidimensional analysis of the proteome are transforming our understanding of various cellular and physiological processes.