Gillian Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, UK
A novel strategy for targeting metalloproteinases in cancer
Epithelial tumours evolve in a multi-step manner, involving both inflammatory and mesenchymal cells. Although intrinsic factors drive malignant progression, the influence of the micro-environment of neoplastic cells is a major feature of tumorigenesis. Extracellular proteinases, notably the metalloproteinases, are key players in the regulation of this cellular environment, acting as major effectors of both cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. They are involved in modifying ECM integrity, growth factor availability and the function of cell surface signalling systems, with consequent effects on cellular differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis.This has made metalloproteinases important targets for therapeutic interventions in cancer and small molecule inhibitors focussed on chelation of the active site zinc and binding within the immediate active site pocket were developed. These were not successful in early clinical trials due to the relative lack of specificity and precise knowledge of the target proteinase(s) in specific cancers. We can now appreciate that it is essential that we understand the relative roles of the different enzymes (of which there are over 60) in terms of their pro and anti tumour activity and their precise sites of expression The next generations of metalloproteinase inhibitors need the added specificity that might be gained from an understanding of the structure of individual active sites and the role of extra catalytic domains in substrate binding and other aspects of their biology. We have prepared scFv antibodies to the extra catalytic domains of two membrane metalloproteinases, MMP-14 and ADAM17, that play key roles in the tumour microenvironment. Our rationale and experiences with these agents will be presented in more detail.
Nader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz
Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes
Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.
Akhilesh Pandey, Ph.D.
Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA
A draft map of the human proteome
We have generated a draft map of the human proteome through a systematic and comprehensive analysis of normal human adult tissues, fetal tissues and hematopoietic cells as an India-US initiative. This unique dataset was generated from 30 histologically normal adult tissues, fetal tissues and purified primary hematopoietic cells that were analyzed at high resolution in the MS mode and by HCD fragmentation in the MS/MS mode on LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Elite mass spectrometers. This dataset was searched against a 6-frame translation of the human genome and RNA-Seq transcripts in addition to standard protein databases. In addition to confirming a large majority (>16,000) of the annotated protein-coding genes in humans, we obtained novel information at multiple levels: novel protein-coding genes, unannotated exons, novel splice sites, proof of translation of pseudogenes (i.e. genes incorrectly annotated as pseudogenes), fused genes, SNPs encoded in proteins and novel N-termini to name a few. Many proteins identified in this study were identified by proteomic methods for the first time (e.g. hypothetical proteins or proteins annotated based solely on their chromosomal location). We have generated a catalog of proteins that show a more tissue-restricted pattern of expression, which should serve as the basis for pursuing biomarkers for diseases pertaining to specific organs. This study also provides one of the largest sets of proteotypic peptides for use in developing MRM assays for human proteins. Identification of several novel protein-coding regions in the human genome underscores the importance of systematic characterization of the human proteome and accurate annotation of protein-coding genes. This comprehensive dataset will complement other global HUPO initiatives using antibody-based as well as MRM mass spectrometry-based strategies. Finally, we believe that this dataset will become a reference set for use as a spectral library as well as for interesting interrogations pertaining to biomedical as well as bioinformatics questions.