Teck Kwang Lim

National University of Singapore, Tumasik, Singapore

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Publications (32)134.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The mechanism of action of artemisinin and its derivatives, the most potent of the anti-malarial drugs, is not completely understood. Here we present an unbiased chemical proteomics analysis to directly explore this mechanism in Plasmodium falciparum. We use an alkyne-tagged artemisinin analogue coupled with biotin to identify 124 artemisinin covalent binding protein targets, many of which are involved in the essential biological processes of the parasite. Such a broad targeting spectrum disrupts the biochemical landscape of the parasite and causes its death. Furthermore, using alkyne-tagged artemisinin coupled with a fluorescent dye to monitor protein binding, we show that haem, rather than free ferrous iron, is predominantly responsible for artemisinin activation. The haem derives primarily from the parasite's haem biosynthesis pathway at the early ring stage and from haemoglobin digestion at the latter stages. Our results support a unifying model to explain the action and specificity of artemisinin in parasite killing.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: The high mortality rate in colorectal cancer is mostly ascribed to metastasis, but the only clinical biomarker available for disease monitoring and prognosis is the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). However, the prognostic utility of CEA remains controversial. In an effort to identify novel biomarkers which could be potentially translated for clinical use, we collected the secretomes from the colon adenocarcinoma cell line HCT-116 and its metastatic derivative, E1, using the hollow fibre culture (HFC) system, and utilised the multi-lectin affinity chromatography approach (MLAC) to enrich for the secreted glycoproteins (glyco-secretome). The HCT-116 and E1 glyco-secretomes were compared using the label-free quantitative SWATH-MS technology, and a total of 149 glycoproteins were differentially secreted in E1 cells. Among these glycoproteins, laminin β-1 (LAMB1), a glycoprotein not previously known to be secreted in colorectal cancer cells, was observed to be oversecreted in E1 cells. In addition, we showed that LAMB1 levels were significantly higher in colorectal cancer patient serum samples as compared to healthy controls when measured using ELISA. ROC analyses indicated that LAMB1 performed better than CEA at discriminating between colorectal cancer patients from controls. Moreover, the diagnostic performance was further improved when LAMB1 was used in combination with CEA.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Proteomics
  • Lili Wang · Hu Zhou · Zhengjun Li · Teck Kwang Lim · Xin Shan Lim · Qingsong Lin
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    ABSTRACT: Aquaporins are integral membrane channel proteins found in all kingdoms of life. The Escherichia coli aquaporin Z (AqpZ) has been shown to solely conduct water at high permeability. Functional AqpZ is generally purified from the membrane fraction. However, the quantity of the purified protein is limited. In this study, a new method is developed to achieve high yield of bioactive AqpZ protein. A mild detergent n-dodecyl-β-D-maltopyranoside (DDM) was used to solubilize the over-expressed insoluble AqpZ from inclusion bodies without a refolding process. The recovered AqpZ protein showed high water permeability comparable with AqpZ obtained from the membrane fraction. In this way, the total yield of bioactive AqpZ has been increased greatly, which will facilitate the structural and functional characterization and future applications of AqpZ. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Protein Expression and Purification
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    ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a form of cancer that affects the hematopoietic precursor cells with lethal effects. We investigated the prospect of using genistein as an effective alternate therapy for AML. A two-cell line model, one possessing the FLT3 gene with the ITD mutation (MV4-11) and the other with the wildtype FLT3 gene (HL-60) has been employed. Our 8-plexed iTRAQ™-based quantitative proteomics analysis together with various functional studies demonstrated that genistein exerts anti-leukemic effects on both the AML cell lines. Genistein treatment on the AML cells showed that the drug arrested the mTOR pathway leading to down-regulation of protein synthesis. Additionally, genistein treatment is found to induce cell death via apoptosis. Contrasting regulatory effects of genistein on the cell cycle of the two cell lines were also identified, with the induction of G2/M phase arrest in HL-60 cells but not in MV4-11 cells. Hence, our study highlights the potent anti-leukemic effect of genistein on AML cells irrespective of their genetic status. This suggests the potential use of genistein as an effective general drug therapy for AML patients.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD), which includes the syndromes of mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and flail leaflet, is a common valvular condition which can be complicated by mitral regurgitation and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Although several genetic and other studies of MVP in dog models have provided some information regarding the underlying disease mechanisms, the proteins and molecular events mediating human MVP pathogenesis have not been unraveled. In this study, we report the first large-scale proteome profiling of mitral valve tissue resected from patients with MVP. A total of 1134 proteins were identified, some of which were validated using SWATH-MS and western blotting. GO annotation of these proteins confirmed the validity of this proteome database in various cardiovascular processes. Among the list of proteins, we found several structural and extracellular matrix proteins, such as asporin, biglycan, decorin, lumican, mimecan, prolargin, versican and vinculin, that have putative roles in the pathophysiology of MVP. These proteins could also be involved in the cardiac remodeling associated with mitral regurgitation This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: Target-identification and understanding of mechanism-of-action (MOA) are challenging for development of small-molecule probes and their application in biology and drug discovery. For example, although aspirin has been widely used for more than 100 years, its molecular targets have not been fully characterized. To cope with this challenge, we developed a novel technique called quantitative acid-cleavable activity-based protein profiling (QA-ABPP) with combination of the following two parts: (i) activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) and iTRAQ™ quantitative proteomics for identification of target proteins and (ii) acid-cleavable linker-based ABPP for identification of peptides with specific binding sites. It is known that reaction of aspirin with its target proteins leads to acetylation. We thus applied the above technique using aspirin-based probes in human cancer HCT116 cells. We identified 1110 target proteins and 2775 peptides with exact acetylation sites. By correlating these two sets of data, 523 proteins were identified as targets of aspirin. We used various biological assays to validate the effects of aspirin on inhibition of protein synthesis and induction of autophagy which were elicited from the pathway analysis of Aspirin target profile. This technique is widely applicable for target identification in the field of drug discovery and biology, especially for the covalent drugs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma is a lethal form of skin cancer with rising global incidence. However, limited treatment options are available for advanced melanoma and this is further compounded by the development of resistance towards existing drugs. Panduratin A (PA), a cyclohexanyl chalcone found in Boesenbergia rotunda was investigated for its cytotoxic potentials against human malignant melanoma A375 cells. Our initial findings revealed that mitochondrion is the primary acting site of PA on A375 cancer cells and echanisms of PA were further investigated using a temporal quantitative proteomics approach by iTRAQ 2D-LC-MS/MS. Comprehensive proteomics analysis identified 296 proteins that were significantly deregulated in PA treated-A375 cells and revealed the involvement of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, secretory and ER stress pathway and apoptosis. We further confirmed that the PA-induced apoptosis was mediated by prolonged ER stress at least in part via the PERK/eIF2α/ATF4/CHOP pathway. Pre-treatment with cycloheximide, an ER stress inhibitor rescued PA-induced cell death, which was accompanied by the suppression of ER stress-related HSPA5 and CHOP proteins. The present study provides comprehensive mechanistic insights into the cytotoxic mechanisms of PA.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: Majority of the proteomic studies on tissue samples involve the use of gel-based approach for profiling and digestion. The laborious gel-based approach is slowly being replaced by the advancing in-solution digestion approach. However, there are still several difficulties such as difficult-to-solubilize proteins, poor proteomic analysis in complex tissue samples, and the presence of sample impurities. Henceforth, there is a great demand to formulate a highly efficient protein extraction buffer with high protein extraction efficiency from tissue samples, high compatibility with in-solution digestion, reduced number of sample handling steps to reduce sample loss, low time consumption, low cost, and ease of usage. Here, we evaluated various existing protein extraction buffers with zebrafish liver tumor samples and found that sodium deoxycholate- (DOC-) based extraction buffer with heat denaturation was the most effective approach for highly efficient extraction of proteins from complex tissues such as the zebrafish liver tumor. A total of 4,790 proteins have been identified using shotgun proteomics approach with 2D LC, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive study for zebrafish liver tumor proteome.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: In order to understand the salt tolerance and secretion in mangrove plant species, gel electrophoresis coupled with LC-MS-based proteomics was used to identify key transport proteins in the plasma membrane (PM) and tonoplast fractions of Avicennia officinalis leaves. PM and tonoplast proteins were purified using two-aqueous phase partitioning and density gradient centrifugation, respectively. Forty of the 254 PM proteins and 31 of the 165 tonoplast proteins identified were predicted to have transmembrane domains. About 95% of the identified proteins could be classified based on their functions. The major classes of proteins were predicted to be involved in transport, metabolic processes, defense /stress response and signal transduction, while a few of the proteins were predicted to be involved in other functions such as membrane trafficking. The main classes of transporter proteins identified included H(+) -ATPases, ATP-binding cassette transporters (ABC) and aquaporins, all of which could play a role in salt secretion. These data will serve as the baseline membrane proteomic dataset for Avicennia species. Further, this information can contribute to future studies on understanding the mechanism of salt tolerance in halophytes in addition to salt secretion in mangroves. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Colorectal cancer metastasis is a major cause of mortality worldwide, which may only be controlled with novel methods limiting tumor dissemination and chemoresistance. High stathmin-1 (STMN1) expression was previously established as a hallmark of colorectal cancer progression and predictor of poor survival; however, the mechanism of action is less clear. This work demonstrates that STMN1 silencing arrests tumor-disseminative cascades by inhibiting multiple metastatic drivers, and repressing oncogenic and mesenchymal transcription. Using a sensitive iTRAQ labeling proteomic approach that quantified differential abundance of 4562 proteins, targeting STMN1 expression was shown to reinstate the default cellular program of metastatic inhibition, and promote cellular adhesion via amplification of hemidesmosomal junctions and intermediate filament tethering. Silencing STMN1 also significantly improved chemoresponse to the classical colorectal cancer therapeutic agent, 5FU, via a novel caspase-6 (CASP6)-dependent mechanism. Interestingly, the prometastatic function of STMN1 was independent of p53 but required phosphorylations at S25 or S38; abrogating phosphorylative events may constitute an alternative route to achieving metastatic inhibition. These findings establish STMN1 as a potential target in antimetastatic therapy, and demonstrate the power of an approach coupling proteomics and transcript analyses in the global assessment of treatment benefits and potential side-effects. Implications: Stathmin-1 is a potential candidate in colorectal cancer therapy that targets simultaneously the twin problems of metastatic spread and chemoresistance.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Molecular Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer is currently the third in cancer incidence worldwide and the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths. Mortality in colorectal cancer is often ascribed to liver metastasis. In an effort to elucidate the proteins involved in colorectal cancer liver metastasis, we compared the proteome profiles of the human colon adenocarcinoma cell line HCT-116 with its metastatic derivative E1, using the iTRAQ labelling technology, coupled to 2D-LC and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. A total of 547 proteins were identified, of which 31 of them were differentially expressed in the E1 cell line. Among these proteins, the differential expressions of TCTP, AKAP12 and DBN1 were validated using western blot. In particular, Drebrin (DBN1), a protein not previously known to be involved in colorectal cancer metastasis, was found to be overexpressed in E1 as compared to HCT-116 cells. The overexpression of DBN1 was further validated using immunohistochemistry on colorectal cancer tissue sections with matched lymph node and liver metastasis tissues. DBN1 is currently believed to be involved in actin cytoskeleton reorganisation and supp26resses actin filament cross-linking and bundling. Since actin reorganisation is an important process for tumour cell migration and invasion, DBN1 may likely have an important role during colorectal cancer metastasis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: Drug target identification is a critical step towards the understanding of the mechanism of action of a drug, which will help to improve the current therapeutic regime and to expand the drugs therapeutic potential. However, current in vitro affinity chromatography-based and in vivo activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) approaches generally face difficulties discriminating specific drug targets from non-specific ones. Here we describe a novel approach combining isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) with Clickable ABPP, named ICABPP, to specifically and comprehensively identify the protein targets of andrographolide (Andro), a natural product with known anti-inflammation and anti-cancer effects, in live cancer cells. We identified a spectrum of specific targets of Andro, which furthered our understanding of the mechanism of action of the drug. We found that Andro has a potential novel application as the tumor metastasis inhibitor, which was validated through cell migration and invasion assays. Moreover, we have unveiled the target binding mechanism of Andro with a combination of drug analogue synthesis, protein engineering and mass spectrometry-based approaches and determined the drug-binding sites of two protein targets, NF-kB and actin.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Molecular & Cellular Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: Palm oil is a highly versatile commodity with wide applications in the food, cosmetics and biofuel industries. Storage oil in the oil palm mesocarp can make up a remarkable 80% of its dry mass, making it the oil crop with the richest oil content in the world. As such, there has been an ongoing interest in understanding the mechanism of oil production in oil palm fruits To identify the proteome changes during oil palm fruit maturation and factors affecting oil yield in oil palm fruits, we examined the proteomic profiles of oil palm mesocarps at 4 developing stages - 12, 16, 18 & 22 weeks after pollination (WAP) - by 8-plex iTRAQ labeling coupled with 2D-LC and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. It was found that proteins from several important metabolic processes, including starch and sucrose metabolism, glycolysis, pentose phosphate shunt, fatty acid biosynthesis and oxidative phosphorylation, were differentially expressed in a concerted manner. These increases led to an increase in carbon flux and a diversion of resources such as ATP and NADH that are required for lipid biosynthesis. The temporal proteome profiles between the high oil-yielding (HY) and low oil-yielding (LY) fruits also showed significant differences in the levels of proteins involved in the regulation of the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. In particular, the expression level of the beta subunit of the ATP synthase complex (Complex IV of the electron transport chain) was found to be increased during fruit maturation in high oil-yielders but decreased in the low oil-yielders during the fruit maturation. These results suggested that increased energy supply is necessary for augmented oil yield in the high oil-yielding oil palm trees.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Proteome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Keeping continuity with our previous study that revealed direct correlations between CRC metastasis and enhanced CacyBP protein levels, here we attempt to improve our understanding of the mechanisms involved within this enigmatic process. Overexpression of CacyBP (CacyBP-OE) in primary CRC cell and its knock down (CacyBP-KD) in the metastatic CRC cells revealed (through phenotypic studies) the positive impact of the protein on metastasis. Additionally, two individual 4-plex iTRAQ based comparative proteomics experiments were carried out on the CacyBP-OE and CacyBP-KD cells, each with two biological replicates. Mining of proteomics data identified total 279 (63.80% up-regulated and 36.20% down-regulated) proteins to be significantly altered in expression level for the OE set and in the KD set, this number was 328 (48.78% up-regulated and 51.22% down-regulated). Functional implications of these significantly regulated proteins were related to metastatic phenotypes such as cell migration, invasion, adhesion and proliferation. Gene ontology analysis identified integrin signaling as the topmost network regulated within CacyBP-OE. Further detection of caveolar mediated endocytosis in the top hit list correlated this phenomenon with the dissociation of integrins from the focal adhesion complex which are known to provide the traction force for cell movement when transported back to the leading edge. This finding was further supported by the data obtained from CacyBP-KD dataset showing down-regulation of proteins necessary for integrin endocytosis. Furthermore, intracellular calcium levels (known to influence integrin mediated cell migration) were found to be lowered in CacyBP-KD cells indicating decreased cell motility and vice versa for the CacyBP-OE cells. Actin nucleation by ARP-WASP complex, known to promote cell migration, was also identified as one of the top regulated pathways in CacyBP-OE cells. In short, this study presents CacyBP as a promising candidate biomarker for CRC metastasis and also sheds light on the underlying molecular mechanism by which CacyBP promotes CRC metastasis.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Molecular & Cellular Proteomics
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we aim to identify biomarkers for gastric cancer metastasis using a quantitative proteomics approach. The proteins extracted from a panel of 4 gastric cancer cell lines, two derived from primary cancer (AGS, FU97) and two from lymph node metastasis (AZ521, MKN7) were labeled with iTRAQ (8-plex) reagents and analyzed by 2D - LC MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. In total, 641 proteins were identified with at least a 95% confidence. Using cutoff values of >1.5 and <0.67, 19 proteins were found to be up-regulated and 34 were down-regulated in the metastatic versus primary gastric cancer cell lines respectively. Several of these dysregulated proteins, including caldesmon, were verified using Western blotting. It was found that caldesmon expression was decreased in the two metastasis-derived cell lines, and this was confirmed by further analysis of 7 gastric cancer cell lines. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining of 9 pairs of primary gastric cancer and the matched lymph node metastasis tissue also corroborated this observation. Finally, knockdown of caldesmon using siRNA in AGS and FU97 gastric cancer cells resulted in an increase in cell migration and invasion, while the over-expression of caldesmon in AZ521 cells led to a decrease in cell migration and invasion. This study has thus established the potential role of caldesmon in gastric cancer metastasis, and further functional studies are underway to delineate the underlying mechanism of action of this protein.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Proteome Research
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    ABSTRACT: We have evaluated the effect of heart extracellular matrix (ECM) on the cardiomyocyte differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ES cells) using de-cellularized heart tissue. Several lines of evidence indicate that ECM plays significant roles in cell proliferation, cell death and differentiation, but role of ECM possessing a 3D structure in differentiation has not been studied in detail. We found that there are substantial differences in the quantitative protein profiles of ECM in SDS-treated heart tissue compared to that of liver tissue, as assessed by iTRAQ™ quantitative proteomics analysis. When mouse ES cells were cultured on thin (60 μm) sections of de-cellularized tissue, the expression of cardiac myosin heavy chain (cMHC) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) was high in ES cells cultured on heart ECM compared with those cultured on liver ECM. In addition, the protein expression of cMHC and cTnI was detected in cells on heart ECM after 2 weeks, which was not detectable in cells on liver ECM. These results indicate that heart ECM plays a critical role in the cardiomyocyte differentiation of ES cells. We propose that tissue-specific ECM induced cell lineage specification through mechano-transduction mediated by the structure, elasticity and components of ECM.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering
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    ABSTRACT: Butyrate and its analogues have long been investigated as potential chemotherapeutic agents. Our previous structure-activity relationship studies of butyrate analogues revealed that 4-benzoylbutyrate had comparable in vitro effects to butyrate when used to treat HT29 and HCT116 colorectal cancer cell lines. The aim of this study was to identify potential mechanisms associated with the anti-tumorigenic effects of 4-benzoylbutyrate. In this study, butyrate, 3-hydroxybutyrate and 4-benzoylbutyrate were also investigated for their effects on histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and histone H4 acetylation in HT29 and HCT116 cells. The biological effects of these analogues on HT29 cells were further investigated using quantitative proteomics to determine the proteins potentially involved in their apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects. Because 3-hydroxybutyrate had minimal to no effect on apoptosis, proliferation or HDAC activity, this analogue was used to identify differentially expressed proteins that were potentially specific to the apoptotic effects of butyrate and/or 4-benzoylbutyrate. Butyrate treatment inhibited HDAC activity and induced H4 acetylation. 4-Benzoylbutyrate inhibited HDAC activity but failed to enhance H4 acetylation. Proteomic analysis revealed 20 proteins whose levels were similarly altered by both butyrate and 4-benzoylbutyrate. Proteins that showed common patterns of differential regulation in the presence of either butyrate or 4-benzoylbutyrate included c-Myc transcriptional targets, proteins involved in ER homeostasis, signal transduction pathways and cell energy metabolism. Although an additional 23 proteins were altered by 4-benzoylbutyrate uniquely, further work is required to understand the mechanisms involved in its apoptotic effects.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of Proteome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphopeptides play a crucial role in many biological processes and constitute some of the most powerful biomarkers in disease detection. However they are often present in very low concentration, which makes their detection highly challenging. Here, we demonstrate the use of a solution-dispersible graphene-titania platform for the selective extraction of phosphopeptides from peptide mixtures. This is followed by direct analysis by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS). The efficient charge and energy exchange between graphene and TiO(2) during laser irradiation in SELDI-TOF MS promotes the soft ionization of analytes and affords a detection limit in the attomole range, which is 10(2)-10(5) more sensitive than conventional platforms. The graphene-titania platform can also be used for detecting phosphopeptides in cancer cells (HeLa cells), where it shows high specificity (94%). An expanded library of 967 unique phosphopeptides is detected using significantly reduced loading of extraction matrixes compared to conventional TiO(2) bead-based assays.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Analytical Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, primitive fetal nucleated red blood cells (FNRBCs) are thought to be as vital for embryonic life as their counterpart, adult red blood cells (adult RBCs) are in later-gestation fetuses and adults. Unlike adult RBCs, the identity and functions of FNRBC proteins are poorly understood owing to a scarcity of FNRBCs for proteomic investigations. The study aimed to investigate membrane proteins of this unique cell type. We present here, the first report on the membrane proteome of human primitive FNRBCs investigated by two-dimensional liquid chromatography coupled with mass-spectrometry (2D-LCMS/MS) and bioinformatics analysis. A total of 273 proteins were identified, of which 133 (48.7%) were membrane proteins. We compared our data with membrane proteins of adult RBCs to identify common, and unique, surface membrane proteins. Twelve plasma membrane proteins with transmembrane domains and eight proteins with transmembrane domains but without known sub-cellular location were identified as unique-to-FNRBCs. Except for the transferrin receptor, all other 19 unique-to-FNRBC membrane proteins have never been described in RBCs. Reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) and immunocytochemistry validated the 2D-LCMS/MS data. Our findings provide potential surface antigens for separation of primitive FNRBCs from maternal blood for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis, and to understand the biology of these rare cells.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Journal of proteomics
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    Han Yu · Zhengjun Li · Dipanjana Ghosh · Teck Kwang Lim · Yuehui He · Qingsong Lin
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    ABSTRACT: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) regulates the synthesis and secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) by stimulating the transcription of Fshβ gene. Our iTRAQ quantitative proteomics result showed that the abundance of α-actinin4 (ACTN4) increased in the nuclei of LβT2 cells upon GnRH induction. Using RNA interference, reverse transcription and real-time PCR, luciferase and transient transfection assays, we proved that ACTN4 is involved in the regulation of mouse Fshβ gene (mFshβ) transcription and its C-terminal calmodulin (CaM)-like domain is crucial for this process. Our study suggests that ACTN4 nuclear translocation mediates GnRH stimulation of mFshβ gene transcription.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · FEBS letters