A Caged In-Source Laser-Cleavable MALDI Matrix with High Vacuum Stability for Extended MALDI-MS Imaging

Autor: Team Hopf

Insufficient vacuum stability of matrix chemicals is a major limitation in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) of large tissue sample cohorts. Here, we designed and synthesized the photo-cleavable caged molecule 4,5-dimethoxy-2-nitrobenzyl-2,5-dihydroxyacetophenone (DMNB-2,5-DHAP) and employed it for lipid MALDI-MSI of mouse brain tissue sections. DMNB-2,5-DHAP is vacuum-stable in a high vacuum MALDI ion source for at least 72 h. Investigation of the uncaging process suggested that the built-in laser (355 nm) in the MALDI ion source promoted the in situ generation of 2,5-DHAP. A caging group is used for the first time in designing a MALDI matrix that is vacuum-stable, uncaged upon laser irradiation during the measurement process, and that boosts lipid ion intensity with MALDI-2 laser-induced postionization.

MsQuality: an interoperable open-source package for the calculation of standardized quality metrics of mass spectrometry data

Autor: Thomas Naake, Johannes Rainer, Wolfgang Huber

Multiple factors can impact accuracy and reproducibility of mass spectrometry data. There is a need to integrate quality assessment and control into data analytic workflows.
The MsQuality package calculates 43 low-level quality metrics based on the controlled mzQC vocabulary defined by the HUPO-PSI on a single mass spectrometry-based measurement of a sample. It helps to identify low-quality measurements and track data quality. Its use of community-standard quality metrics facilitates comparability of quality assessment and control (QA/QC) criteria across datasets.
Availability and implementation
The R package MsQuality is available through Bioconductor at

Oligosarcomas, IDH-mutant are distinct and aggressive

Autor: Team von Deimling

Oligodendrogliomas are defined at the molecular level by the presence of an IDH mutation and codeletion of chromosomal arms 1p and 19q. In the past, case reports and small studies described gliomas with sarcomatous features arising from oligodendrogliomas, so called oligosarcomas. Here, we report a series of 24 IDH-mutant oligosarcomas from 23 patients forming a distinct methylation class. The tumors were recurrences from prior oligodendrogliomas or developed de novo. Precursor tumors of 12 oligosarcomas were histologically and molecularly indistinguishable from conventional oligodendrogliomas. Oligosarcoma tumor cells were embedded in a dense network of reticulin fibers, frequently showing p53 accumulation, positivity for SMA and CALD1, loss of OLIG2 and gain of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) as compared to primary lesions. In 5 oligosarcomas no 1p/19q codeletion was detectable, although it was present in the primary lesions. Copy number neutral LOH was determined as underlying mechanism. Oligosarcomas harbored an increased chromosomal copy number variation load with frequent CDKN2A/B deletions. Proteomic profiling demonstrated oligosarcomas to be highly distinct from conventional CNS WHO grade 3 oligodendrogliomas with consistent evidence for a smooth muscle differentiation. Expression of several tumor suppressors was reduced with NF1 being lost frequently. In contrast, oncogenic YAP1 was aberrantly overexpressed in oligosarcomas. Panel sequencing revealed mutations in NF1 and TP53 along with IDH1/2 and TERT promoter mutations. Survival of patients was significantly poorer for oligosarcomas as first recurrence than for grade 3 oligodendrogliomas as first recurrence. These results establish oligosarcomas as a distinct group of IDH-mutant gliomas differing from conventional oligodendrogliomas on the histologic, epigenetic, proteomic, molecular and clinical level. The diagnosis can be based on the combined presence of (a) sarcomatous histology, (b) IDH-mutation and (c) TERT promoter mutation and/or 1p/19q codeletion, or, in unresolved cases, on its characteristic DNA methylation profile.

Pre-analytical processing of plasma and serum samples for combined proteome and metabolome analysis

Autor: Gegner HM, Naake T, Dugourd A, Müller T, Czernilofsky F, Kliewer G, Jäger E, Helm B, Kunze-Rohrbach N, Klingmüller U, Hopf C, Müller-Tidow C, Dietrich S, Saez-Rodriguez J, Huber W, Hell R, Poschet G, Krijgsveld J

Metabolomic and proteomic analyses of human plasma and serum samples harbor the power to advance our understanding of disease biology. Pre-analytical factors may contribute to variability and bias in the detection of analytes, especially when multiple labs are involved, caused by sample handling, processing time, and differing operating procedures. To better understand the impact of pre-analytical factors that are relevant to implementing a unified proteomic and metabolomic approach in a clinical setting, we assessed the influence of temperature, sitting times, and centrifugation speed on the plasma and serum metabolomes and proteomes from six healthy volunteers. We used targeted metabolic profiling (497 metabolites) and data-independent acquisition (DIA) proteomics (572 proteins) on the same samples generated with well-defined pre-analytical conditions to evaluate criteria for pre-analytical SOPs for plasma and serum samples. Time and temperature showed the strongest influence on the integrity of plasma and serum proteome and metabolome. While rapid handling and low temperatures (4°C) are imperative for metabolic profiling, the analyzed proteomics data set showed variability when exposed to temperatures of 4°C for more than 2 h, highlighting the need for compromises in a combined analysis. We formalized a quality control scoring system to objectively rate sample stability and tested this score using external data sets from other pre-analytical studies. Stringent and harmonized standard operating procedures (SOPs) are required for pre-analytical sample handling when combining proteomics and metabolomics of clinical samples to yield robust and interpretable data on a longitudinal scale and across different clinics. To ensure an adequate level of practicability in a clinical routine for metabolomics and proteomics studies, we suggest keeping blood samples up to 2 h on ice (4°C) prior to snap-freezing as a compromise between stability and operability. Finally, we provide the methodology as an open-source R package allowing the systematic scoring of proteomics and metabolomics data sets to assess the stability of plasma and serum samples.

Venetoclax synergizes with gilteritinib in FLT3 wild-type high-risk acute myeloid leukemia by suppressing MCL-1

Autor: Janssen M, Schmidt C, Bruch PM, Blank MF, Rohde C, Waclawiczek A, Heid D, Renders S, Göllner S, Vierbaum L, Besenbeck B, Herbst SA, Knoll M, Kolb C, Przybylla A, Weidenauer K, Ludwig AK, Fabre M, Gu M, Schlenk RF, Stölzel F, Bornhäuser M, Röllig C, Platzbecker U, Baldus C, Serve H, Sauer T, Raffel S, Pabst C, Vassiliou G, Vick B, Jeremias I, Trumpp A, Krijgsveld J, Müller-Tidow C, Dietrich S.

BCL-2 inhibition has been shown to be effective in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in combination with hypomethylating agents or low-dose cytarabine. However, resistance and relapse represent major clinical challenges. Therefore, there is an unmet need to overcome resistance to current venetoclax-based strategies. We performed high-throughput drug screening to identify effective combination partners for venetoclax in AML. Overall, 64 antileukemic drugs were screened in 31 primary high-risk AML samples with or without venetoclax. Gilteritinib exhibited the highest synergy with venetoclax in FLT3 wild-type AML. The combination of gilteritinib and venetoclax increased apoptosis, reduced viability, and was active in venetoclax-azacitidine–resistant cell lines and primary patient samples. Proteomics revealed increased FLT3 wild-type signaling in specimens with low in vitro response to the currently used venetoclax-azacitidine combination. Mechanistically, venetoclax with gilteritinib decreased phosphorylation of ERK and GSK3B via combined AXL and FLT3 inhibition with subsequent suppression of the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1. MCL-1 downregulation was associated with increased MCL-1 phosphorylation of serine 159, decreased phosphorylation of threonine 161, and proteasomal degradation. Gilteritinib and venetoclax were active in an FLT3 wild-type AML patient-derived xenograft model with TP53 mutation and reduced leukemic burden in 4 patients with FLT3 wild-type AML receiving venetoclax-gilteritinib off label after developing refractory disease under venetoclax-azacitidine. In summary, our results suggest that combined inhibition of FLT3/AXL potentiates venetoclax response in FLT3 wild-type AML by inducing MCL-1 degradation. Therefore, the venetoclax-gilteritinib combination merits testing as a potentially active regimen in patients with high-risk FLT3 wild-type AML.

IceR improves proteome coverage and data completeness in global and single-cell proteomics

Label-free proteomics by data-dependent acquisition enables the unbiased quantification of thousands of proteins, however it notoriously suffers from high rates of missing values, thus prohibiting consistent protein quantification across large sample cohorts. To solve this, we here present IceR (Ion current extraction Re-quantification), an efficient and user-friendly quantification workflow that combines high identification rates of data-dependent acquisition with low missing value rates similar to data-independent acquisition. Specifically, IceR uses ion current information for a hybrid peptide identification propagation approach with superior quantification precision, accuracy, reliability and data completeness compared to other quantitative workflows. Applied to plasma and single-cell proteomics data, IceR enhanced the number of reliably quantified proteins, improved discriminability between single-cell populations, and allowed reconstruction of a developmental trajectory. IceR will be useful to improve performance of large scale global as well as low-input proteomics applications, facilitated by its availability as an easy-to-use R-package.

Automated sample preparation with SP3 for low-input clinical proteomics

High-throughput and streamlined workflows are essential in clinical proteomics for standardized processing of samples from a variety of sources, including fresh-frozen tissue, FFPE tissue, or blood. To reach this goal, we have implemented single-pot solid-phase-enhanced sample preparation (SP3) on a liquid handling robot for automated processing (autoSP3) of tissue lysates in a 96-well format. AutoSP3 performs unbiased protein purification and digestion, and delivers peptides that can be directly analyzed by LCMS, thereby significantly reducing hands-on time, reducing variability in protein quantification, and improving longitudinal reproducibility. We demonstrate the distinguishing ability of autoSP3 to process low-input samples, reproducibly quantifying 500–1,000 proteins from 100 to 1,000 cells. Furthermore, we applied this approach to a cohort of clinical FFPE pulmonary adenocarcinoma (ADC) samples and recapitulated their separation into known histological growth patterns. Finally, we integrated autoSP3 with AFA ultrasonication for the automated end-to-end sample preparation and LCMS analysis of 96 intact tissue samples. Collectively, this constitutes a generic, scalable, and cost-effective workflow with minimal manual intervention, enabling reproducible tissue proteomics in a broad range of clinical and non-clinical applications.

Advances in systems biology modeling: 10 years of crowdsourcing DREAM challenges

Computational and mathematical models are key to obtain a system-level understanding of biological processes, but their limitations have to be clearly defined to allow their proper application and interpretation. Crowdsourced benchmarks in the form of challenges provide an unbiased assessment of methods, and for the past decade, the Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessment and Methods (DREAM) organized more than 15 systems biology challenges. From transcription factor binding to dynamical network models, from signaling networks to gene regulation, from whole-cell models to cell-lineage reconstruction, and from single-cell positioning in a tissue to drug combinations and cell survival, the breadth is broad. To celebrate the 5-year anniversary of Cell Systems, we review the genesis of these systems biology challenges and discuss how interlocking the forward- and reverse-modeling paradigms allows to push the rim of systems biology. This approach will persist for systems levels approaches in biology and medicine.