Complete proteolytic digestion in the preparation of proteins for bottom-up proteomic analysis is substantially improved by the use of detergents for complete denaturation. This however is incompatible with many proteases, and highly detrimental to LC-MS/MS data collection. Recently, filter-based methods such as FASP (Filter-Aided Sample Prep) have seen wide use due to their ability to remove detergents and other harmful reagents prior to digestion and mass spectrometric analysis. Unfortunately, these techniques can be variable and time consuming. Suspension trapping (S-Trapping) is a newer method that utilizes a depth-filter to trap flocculated proteins, and has proven to be a faster approach for proteomic analysis. Sample preparation by these methods requires careful control of protein concentrations in order to flocculate the sample for collection, and the cost of commercial solutions can be high. We hypothesized that protein suspensions also retain on silica-based filters due to ionic interactions mediated by the presence of sodium (Na+), SO42- and PO43-. As such, we sought to investigate if very low-cost DNA purification spin-filters, so called ‘minipreps’ could efficiently and reproducibly trap proteins for digest and LC-MS/MS analysis. Using model proteins and whole-cell lysates we compared digestion efficiencies, capacities, recovery and identification rates from samples prepared using DNA-minipreps and FASP-based protocols. Samples were analyzed using nano uHPLC MS-MS/MS and Label-Free-Quantitative (LFQ) proteomics. DNA-filters show low variability, excellent recovery, sensitivity, and proteome depth from a commercially obtainable device which costs < $0.25 (US) per sample.
AbstractThe extent to which proteins are protected from hydrogen deuterium exchange (HDX) provides valuable insight into their folding, dynamics and interactions. Characterised by mass spectrometry (MS), HDX benefits from negligible mass restrictions and exceptional throughput and sensitivity but at the expense of resolution. Exchange mechanisms which naturally transpire for individual residues cannot be accurately located or understood because amino acids are characterised in differently sized groups depending on the extent of proteolytic digestion. Here we report HDXmodeller, the world’s first online webserver for high-resolution HDX-MS. HDXmodeller accepts low-resolution HDX-MS input data and returns high-resolution exchange rates quantified for each residue. Crucially, HDXmodeller also returns a set of unique statistics that can correctly validate exchange rate models to an accuracy of 99%. Remarkably, these statistics are derived without any prior knowledge of the individual exchange rates and facilitate unparallel user confidence and the capacity to evaluate different data optimisation strategies.
AbstractAffitins are a novel class of small 7 kDa artificial proteins which can be used as antibody substitutes in therapeutic, diagnostic and biotechnological applications. One challenge for this type of protein agent is their behaviour in the context of oral administration. The digestive system is central, and biorelevant media have fast emerged as relevant and reliable tools for evaluating the bioavailability of drugs. This study describes, for the first time, the stability of Affitins under simulated gastric and intestinal digestion conditions. Affitins appear to be degraded into stable fragments in in vitro gastric medium. We identified cleavage sites generated by pepsin that were silenced by site-directed mutagenesis. This protein engineering allowed us to enhance Affitin properties. We showed that a mutant M1 containing a double mutation of amino acid residues 6 and 7 in H4 and C3 Affitins acquired a resistance against proteolytic digestion. In addition, these mutations were beneficial for target affinity, as well as for production yield. Finally, we found that the mutated residues kept or increased the important pH and temperature stabilities of Affitins. These improvements are particularly sought after in the development of engineered binding proteins for research tools, preclinical studies and clinical applications.
Transporters are key to understanding how an individual will respond to a particular dose of a drug. Two patients with similar systemic concentrations may have quite different local concentrations of a drug at the required site. The transporter profile of any individual depends upon a variety of genetic and environmental factors, including genotype, age, and diet status. Robust models (virtual patients) are therefore required and these models are data hungry. Necessary data include quantitative transporter profiles at the relevant organ. Liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is currently the most powerful method available for obtaining this information. Challenges include sourcing the tissue, isolating the hydrophobic membrane-embedded transporter proteins, preparing the samples for MS (including proteolytic digestion), choosing appropriate quantification methodology, and optimizing the LC-MS/MS conditions. Great progress has been made with all of these, especially within the last few years, and is discussed here.