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DEVELOPMENT OF CHEMICAL PROTEOMIC APPROACHES TO STUDY VIRAL ENDOCYTOSIS AND PHOSPHOPROTEOMICS
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A significant development in mass spectrometry instrumentation and software in the past decade has led to its application in solving complex biological problems. One of the emerging areas is Chemical Proteomics that involves design and use of chemical reagents to probe protein functions in ‘a live cell’ environment. Another aspect of Chemical Proteomics is the identification of target proteins of a drug or small molecule. This is assisted by photoreactive groups, which on exposure to UV light, covalently link the target proteins that can be purified by affinity-based enrichment followed by mass-spectrometric identification. This phenomenon of Photoaffinity labeling (PAL) has been widely used in a broad range of applications. Herein, we have designed chemical tools to study Zika endocytosis and phosphoproteomics.
Zika virus has attracted the interest of researchers globally, following its outbreak in 2016. While a significant development has been made in understanding the structure and pathogenesis, the actual mechanism of Zika entry into host cells is largely unknown. We designed a chemical probe to tag the live virus, leading to the identification of the virus receptors and other host factors involved in viral entry. We further validated neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM1) as a host protein involved in early phase entry of Zika virus into Vero cells.
The second aspect is the development of the DIGE (Difference Gel Electrophoresis) technology for phosphoproteomics. Phosphoproteins are known to be involved in various signaling pathways and implicated in multiple diseased states. We designed chemical reagents composed of titanium (IV) ion, diazirine and a fluorophore, to covalently label the phosphoproteins. Cyanine3 and cyanine5 fluorophores were employed to reveal the difference in phosphorylation between samples for the comparative proteomics. Thus far, we have successfully demonstrated the labeling of standard phosphoproteins in both simple and complex protein mixtures, and the future efforts are towards applying the technology to identify phosphoproteins in a cell lysate.