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Concept: Proteome


Although bulk protein turnover has been measured with the use of stable isotope labeled tracers for over half a century, it is only recently that the same approach has become applicable to the level of the proteome, permitting analysis of the turnover of many proteins instead of single proteins or an aggregated protein pool. The optimal experimental design for turnover studies is dependent on the nature of the biological system under study, which dictates the choice of precursor label, protein pool sampling strategy, and treatment of data. In this review we discuss different approaches and, in particular, explore how complexity in experimental design and data processing increases as we shift from unicellular to multicellular systems, in particular animals.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell, Metabolism, Proteomics, Proteome, Design of experiments


‘Omics analysis (transcriptomics, proteomics) quantifies changes in gene/protein expression, providing a snapshot of changes in biochemical pathways over time. Although tools such as modelling that are needed to investigate the relationships between genes/proteins already exist, they are rarely utilised. We consider the potential for using Structural Equation Modelling to investigate protein-protein interactions in a proposed Rubisco protein degradation pathway using previously published data from 2D electrophoresis and mass spectrometry proteome analysis. These informed the development of a prior model that hypothesised a pathway of Rubisco Large Subunit and Small Subunit degradation, producing both primary and secondary degradation products. While some of the putative pathways were confirmed by the modelling approach, the model also demonstrated features that had not been originally hypothesised. We used Bayesian analysis based on Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation to generate output statistics suggesting that the model had replicated the variation in the observed data due to protein-protein interactions. This study represents an early step in the development of approaches that seek to enable the full utilisation of information regarding the dynamics of biochemical pathways contained within proteomics data. As these approaches gain attention, they will guide the design and conduct of experiments that enable 'Omics modelling to become a common place practice within molecular biology.

Concepts: Protein, Molecular biology, Proteomics, Proteome, Monte Carlo method, Protein subunit, Markov chain Monte Carlo, Bayesian inference


The role of protein-lipid interactions is increasingly recognized to be of importance in numerous biological processes. Bioinformatics is being increasingly used as a helpful tool in studying protein-lipid interactions. Especially recently developed approaches recognizing lipid binding regions in proteins can be implemented. In this study one of those bioinformatics approaches specialized in identifying lipid binding helical regions in proteins is expanded. The approach is explored further by features which can be easily obtained manually. Some interesting examples of members of the amphitropic protein family have been investigated in order to demonstrate the additional features of this bioinformatics approach. The results in this study seem to indicate interesting characteristics of amphitropic proteins and provide insight into the mechanistic functioning and overall understanding of this intriguing class of proteins. Additionally, the results demonstrate that the presented bioinformatics approach might be either an interesting starting point in protein-lipid interactions studies or a good tool for selecting new focus points for more detailed experimental research of proteins with known overall protein-lipid binding abilities.

Concepts: DNA, Proteins, Protein, Bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Metabolism, Proteome, Cdx protein family


Viruses interact with hundreds to thousands of proteins in mammals, yet adaptation against viruses has only been studied in a few proteins specialized in antiviral defense. Whether adaptation to viruses typically involves only specialized antiviral proteins or affects a broad array of virus-interacting proteins is unknown. Here, we analyze adaptation in ~1300 virus-interacting proteins manually curated from a set of 9900 proteins conserved in all sequenced mammalian genomes. We show that viruses (i) use the more evolutionarily constrained proteins within the cellular functions they interact with and that (ii) despite this high constraint, virus-interacting proteins account for a high proportion of all protein adaptation in humans and other mammals. Adaptation is elevated in virus-interacting proteins across all functional categories, including both immune and non-immune functions. We conservatively estimate that viruses have driven close to 30% of all adaptive amino acid changes in the part of the human proteome conserved within mammals. Our results suggest that viruses are one of the most dominant drivers of evolutionary change across mammalian and human proteomes.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Evolution, Amino acid, Metabolism, Virus, Proteome


Alternative splicing is commonly believed to be a major source of cellular protein diversity. However, although many thousands of alternatively spliced transcripts are routinely detected in RNA-seq studies, reliable large-scale mass spectrometry-based proteomics analyses identify only a small fraction of annotated alternative isoforms. The clearest finding from proteomics experiments is that most human genes have a single main protein isoform, while those alternative isoforms that are identified tend to be the most biologically plausible: those with the most cross-species conservation and those that do not compromise functional domains. Indeed, most alternative exons do not seem to be under selective pressure, suggesting that a large majority of predicted alternative transcripts may not even be translated into proteins.

Concepts: DNA, Proteins, Protein, Gene, Molecular biology, Messenger RNA, Proteome, Alternative splicing


The process of lipid peroxidation is emerging as an important mechanism that mediates the post-translational modification of proteins. Through advanced analytical techniques, lipidomics is now emerging as a critical factor in our understanding of the pathology of a broad range of diseases. RECENT ADVANCES: During enzymatic or nonenzymatic lipid peroxidation, the simple structure of an unsaturated fatty acid is converted to an oxylipidome, many members of which are electrophilic and form the reactive lipid species (RLS). This aspect of lipid biology is particularly important, as it directly connects lipidomics with proteomics through the post-translational modification of a sub-proteome in the cell. This arises, because the electrophilic members of the oxylipidome react with proteins at nucleophilic amino-acid residues and so change their structure and function to form electrophile-responsive proteomes (ERP).

Concepts: Protein, Amino acid, Metabolism, Fatty acid, Ketone, Biochemistry, Proteome, Unsaturated fat


In 2010, the Human Proteome Organization launched the Human Proteome Project (HPP), aimed at identifying and characterizing the proteome of the human body. To support complete coverage, one arm of the project will take a gene- or chromosomal-centric strategy (C-HPP) aimed at identifying at least one protein product from each protein-coding gene. Despite multiple large international biological databases housing genomic and protein data, there is currently no single system that integrates updated pertinent information from each of these data repositories and assembles the information into a searchable format suitable for the type of global proteomics effort proposed by the C-HPP. We have undertaken the goal of producing a data integration and analysis software system and browser for the C-HPP effort and of making data collections from this resource discoverable through metadata repositories, such as Australian National Data Service’s Research Data Australia. Here we present our vision and progress toward the goal of developing a comprehensive data integration and analysis software tool that provides a snapshot of currently available proteomic related knowledge around each gene product, which will ultimately assist in analyzing biological function and the study of human physiology in health and disease.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Bioinformatics, Biology, Genomics, Physiology, Proteomics, Proteome


Protein digestion is an integral part of the ‘shotgun’ proteomics approach and commonly requires overnight incubation prior to mass spectrometry analysis. Quadruplicate ‘shotgun’ proteomic analysis of whole yeast lysate demonstrated that Guanidine-Hydrochloride (Gnd-HCl) protein digestion can be optimally completed within 30 minutes with endoprotease Lys-C. No chemical artifacts were introduced when samples were incubated in Gnd-HCl at 95°C, making Gnd-HCl an appropriate digestion buffer for shotgun proteomics. Current methodologies for investigating protein-protein interactions (PPIs) often require several preparation steps, which prolongs any parallel operation and high-throughput interaction analysis. Gnd-HCl allow the efficient elution and subsequent fast digestion of PPIs to provide a convenient high-throughput methodology for affinity-purification mass spectrometry (AP-MS) experiments. To validate the Gnd-HCl approach, label-free PPI analysis of several GFP-tagged yeast deubiquitinating enzymes was performed. The identification of known interaction partners demonstrates the utility of the optimized Gnd-HCl protocol that is also scalable to the 96 well-plate format.

Concepts: Protein, Bioinformatics, Metabolism, Mass spectrometry, Proteomics, Proteome, Top-down proteomics, Shotgun proteomics


The present study investigated whether proteome pattern of an oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis could be used as a diagnostic tool for contamination and toxicity of metals/metalloids in a real multiple metal-contaminated estuary. We collected oysters along a pollution gradient from highly contaminated to relatively clean sites. The oysters showed distinct contamination gradients of Cu, Zn and Cd. Proteomic analysis of the oyster gills as one of major metal targets identified a proteome pattern composed of 13 commonly altered proteins in the contaminated oysters. The discovered proteome pattern completely segregated the contaminated from the clean individuals, and the pattern achieved clear classification of the oysters with different contamination levels. Importantly, the integrated changes of gill proteome were linearly related to the integrated contamination of the metal mixtures present in oyster tissues. It is suggested that proteome pattern is a promising diagnostic tool for metal pollution assessment in environmental monitoring programs.

Concepts: Protein, Proteomics, Proteome, Pacific oyster, Ostreidae, Eastern oyster, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay


Resolving the spatial distribution of the human proteome at a subcellular level greatly increases our understanding of human biology and disease. Here, we present a comprehensive image-based map of the subcellular protein distribution, the Cell Atlas, built by integrating transcriptomics and antibody-based immunofluorescence microscopy with validation by mass spectrometry. Mapping the in situ localization of 12,003 human proteins at a single-cell level to 30 subcellular structures enabled the definition of 13 major organelle proteomes. Exploration of the proteomes reveals single-cell variations of abundance or spatial distribution, and localization of approximately half of the proteins to multiple compartments. This subcellular map can be used to refine existing protein-protein interaction networks and provides an important resource to deconvolute the highly complex architecture of the human cell.

Concepts: Antibody, DNA, Protein, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cell biology, Proteomics, Proteome