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Measuring H218O Tracer Incorporation on a QQQ-MS Platform Provides a Rapid, Transferable Screening Tool for Relative Protein Synthesis

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journal contribution
posted on 02.03.2012 by James P. Conway, Douglas G. Johns, Sheng-Ping Wang, Nykia D. Walker, Thomas A. McAvoy, Haihong Zhou, Xuemei Zhao, Stephen F. Previs, Thomas P. Roddy, Brian K. Hubbard, Nathan A. Yates, Ronald C. Hendrickson
Intracellular proteins are in a state of flux, continually being degraded into amino acids and resynthesized into new proteins. The rate of this biochemical recycling process varies across proteins and is emerging as an important consideration in drug discovery and development. Here, we developed a triple-stage quadrupole mass spectrometry assay based on product ion measurements at unit resolution and H218O stable tracer incorporation to measure relative protein synthesis rates. As proof of concept, we selected to measure the relative in vivo synthesis rate of ApoB100, an apolipoprotein where elevated levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, in plasma-isolated very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) in a mouse in vivo model. In addition, serial time points were acquired to measure the relative in vivo synthesis rate of mouse LDL ApoB100 in response to vehicle, microsomal triacylglycerol transfer protein (MTP) inhibitor, and site-1 protease inhibitor, two potential therapeutic targets to reduce plasma ApoB100 levels at 2 and 6 h post-tracer-injection. The combination of H218O tracer with the triple quadrupole mass spectrometry platform creates an assay that is relatively quick and inexpensive to transfer across different biological model systems, serving as an ideal rapid screening tool for relative protein synthesis in response to treatment.