Tissue proteomics using chemical immobilization and mass spectrometry

Shah P, Zhang B, Choi C, Yang S, Zhou J, Harlan R, Tian Y, Zhang Z, Chan DW, Zhang H. Anal Biochem. 2015 Jan 15;469:27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2014.09.017. PMID: 25283129

Proteomics analysis is important for characterizing tissues to gain biological and pathological insights, which could lead to the identification of disease-associated proteins for disease diagnostics or targeted therapy. However, tissues are commonly embedded in optimal cutting temperature medium (OCT) or are formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) in order to maintain tissue morphology for histology evaluation. Although several tissue proteomic analyses have been performed on FFPE tissues using advanced mass spectrometry (MS) technologies, high-throughput proteomic analysis of OCT-embedded tissues has been difficult due to the interference of OCT in the MS analysis. In addition, molecules other than proteins present in tissues further complicate tissue proteomic analysis. Here, we report the development of a method using chemical immobilization of proteins for peptide extraction (CIPPE). In this method, proteins are chemically immobilized onto a solid support; interferences from tissues and OCT embedding are removed by extensive washing of proteins conjugated on the solid support. Peptides are then released from the solid phase by proteolysis, enabling MS analysis. This method was first validated by eliminating OCT interference from a standard protein, human serum albumin, where all of the unique peaks contributed by OCT contamination were eradicated. Finally, this method was applied for the proteomic analysis of frozen and OCT-embedded tissues using iTRAQ (isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation) labeling and two-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. The data showed reproducible extraction and quantitation of 10,284 proteins from 3996 protein groups and a minimal impact of OCT embedding on the analysis of the global proteome of the stored tissue samples.