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Partitioning the proteome: phase separation for targeted analysis of membrane proteins in human post-mortem brain.

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posted on 2022-02-22, 16:30 authored by Jane A. English, Bruno Manadas, Caitriona Scaife, David R. Cotter, Michael J. Dunn, David CotterDavid Cotter

Neuroproteomics is a powerful platform for targeted and hypothesis driven research, providing comprehensive insights into cellular and sub-cellular disease states, Gene × Environmental effects, and cellular response to medication effects in human, animal, and cell culture models. Analysis of sub-proteomes is becoming increasingly important in clinical proteomics, enriching for otherwise undetectable proteins that are possible markers for disease. Membrane proteins are one such sub-proteome class that merit in-depth targeted analysis, particularly in psychiatric disorders. As membrane proteins are notoriously difficult to analyse using traditional proteomics methods, we evaluate a paradigm to enrich for and study membrane proteins from human post-mortem brain tissue. This is the first study to extensively characterise the integral trans-membrane spanning proteins present in human brain. Using Triton X-114 phase separation and LC-MS/MS analysis, we enriched for and identified 494 membrane proteins, with 194 trans-membrane helices present, ranging from 1 to 21 helices per protein. Isolated proteins included glutamate receptors, G proteins, voltage gated and calcium channels, synaptic proteins, and myelin proteins, all of which warrant quantitative proteomic investigation in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Overall, our sub-proteome analysis reduced sample complexity and enriched for integral membrane proteins by 2.3 fold, thus allowing for more manageable, reproducible, and targeted proteomics in case vs. control biomarker studies. This study provides a valuable reference for future neuroproteomic investigations of membrane proteins, and validates the use Triton X-114 detergent phase extraction on human post mortem brain.


Science Foundation Ireland under Grant No. 04/RPI/B499 and Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia – Portugal (grant SFRH/BPD/26456/2006).



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English JA, Mandas B, Scaife C, Cotter DR, Dunn MJ. Partitioning the proteome: phase separation for targeted analysis of membrane proteins in human post-mortem brain. PLos One. 2012;7(6):e39509.

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  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Psychiatry