Proteome profiling of whole plasma and plasma-derived extracellular vesicles facilitates the detection of tissue biomarkers in the non-obese diabetic mouse

Extracellular Vesicles

The mechanism by which pancreatic beta cells are destroyed in type 1 diabetes (T1D) remains to be fully understood. Recent observations indicate that the disease may arise because of different pathobiological mechanisms (endotypes). The discovery of one or several protein biomarkers measurable in readily available liquid biopsies (e.g. blood plasma) during the pre-diabetic period may enable personalized disease interventions. Recent studies have shown that extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a source of tissue proteins in liquid biopsies. Using plasma samples collected from pre-diabetic non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice (an experimental model of T1D) we addressed if combined analysis of whole plasma samples and plasma-derived EV fractions increases the number of unique proteins identified by mass spectrometry (MS) compared to the analysis of whole plasma samples alone. LC-MS/MS analysis of plasma samples depleted of abundant proteins and subjected to peptide fractionation identified more than 2300 proteins, while the analysis of EV-enriched plasma samples identified more than 600 proteins. Of the proteins detected in EV-enriched samples, more than a third were not identified in whole plasma samples and many were classified as either tissue-enriched or of tissue-specific origin. In conclusion, parallel profiling of EV-enriched plasma fractions and whole plasma samples increases the overall proteome depth and facilitates the discovery of tissue-enriched proteins in plasma. If applied to plasma samples collected longitudinally from the NOD mouse or from models with other pathobiological mechanisms, the integrated proteome profiling scheme described herein may be useful for the discovery of new and potentially endotype specific biomarkers in T1D.

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Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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