Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Proteins Under Pressure

11.07.2008
PNNL researchers put a little pressure into proteomics analyses to squeeze a four-hour step into a minute.

Many coaches inspire better performance by pressuring their teams. Now, proteomics researchers are using pressure to improve the performance of their analyses. In a simple solution to a time-consuming problem, the researchers have found that adding pressure early in their protocol squeezes four hours of waiting into a minute.

"We were really happy to see how well it worked," said biochemist Daniel Lopez-Ferrer, a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "We're determining when and how to incorporate it into our analyses." Lopez-Ferrer and his colleagues reported their findings in the July 8, 2008, Journal of Proteome Research.

Proteomics researchers learn about organisms by studying the proteins they make, and they want to be able to analyze large numbers of samples fast and sensitively. Cutting down the time-consuming steps would significantly increase the number of samples that could be analyzed. The first, slowest steps in most proteomics protocols requires at least four hours -- researchers often allow this to go overnight because of timing issues for the rest of the process. The team of chemists, biologists and physicists at PNNL investigated whether pressure would improve their process.

What takes so long is the breakdown of full-length proteins into smaller bits called peptides, which can be analyzed by measuring their individual masses. The most common way to break down proteins is to let an enzyme eat through the bonds between the protein building blocks, or amino acids. Scientists have tried a variety of ways to help the enzyme digest these bonds faster, including using microwaves or ultrasound, with varying degrees of success.

Food processors have long been using high pressure to kill pathogens on food (think homemade preserves), and some evidence suggested that as pressure rises from low to high, some enzymes initially become more active before dying from the duress.

To determine if pressure would help in proteomics, the team used the protein albumin. The researchers incubated albumin with the enzyme trypsin at several different pressures for one minute each, then counted how many pieces into which trypsin cut albumin. At 10,000 pounds-per-square-inch up to 35,000 psi, trypsin appeared to maximally cleave albumin. For these tests, the team used facilities at the DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus.

The team then tested whether this process could be used for proteomics, in which large numbers of proteins are studied at once. So, they extracted the proteins from a bacterial culture and subjected half to the traditional overnight approach and half to 35 kpsi for one minute.

Overall, the resulting collection of peptides looked very similar between the two methods. The pressure method generated about 10 percent more unique peptides but cut slightly fewer total bonds than the traditional method. The researchers concluded that the benefit of time gained by the pressure method and the additional unique peptides outweighed the dip in total bonds.

Additionally, the team wondered how pressure sped up the enzyme digestion. To determine if pressure caused bacterial proteins to unfold and make their bonds more vulnerable to trypsin, the team turned to myoglobin, a compact glob of a protein that packs a second, loose molecule inside. When they put myoglobin under 35 kpsi in the absence of trypsin, myoglobin lost its molecular parcel, suggesting that pressure opens up or denatures proteins, baring their bonds and giving trypsin more room to work.

Now, the PNNL researchers are integrating the pressurized digestion into their proteomics protocol where appropriate. In other work, Lopez-Ferrer and colleagues are testing whether ultrasound would also speed up this first step. They believe pressure and ultrasound might bring different advantages to the table of protein digestion, depending on the samples to be analyzed.

Reference: D. Lopez-Ferrer, K. Petritis, K.K. Hixson, T.H. Heibeck, R.J. Moore, M.E. Belov, D.G. Camp II, and R.D. Smith, Application of Pressurized Solvents for Ultrafast Trypsin Hydrolysis in Proteomics: Proteomics on the Fly, Journal of Proteome Research ASAP Article, July 8, 2008, 10.1021/pr7008077.

This work was initially supported by internal PNNL funds, and was then funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (www.emsl.pnl.gov) is a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research program, that is located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. EMSL's technical experts and suite of custom and advanced instruments are unmatched. Its integrated computational and experimental capabilities enable researchers to realize fundamental scientific insights and create new technologies.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (http://www.pnl.gov) is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America's most intractable problems in energy, national security and the environment. PNNL employs 4,000 staff, has a $855 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

Mary Beckman | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.pnl.gov

Further reports about: Albumin Lopez-Ferrer PNNL Proteomics Trypsin enzyme method peptides

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>