Total protein staining is superior to classical or tissue-specific protein staining for standardization of protein biomarkers in heterogeneous tissue samples

Jacob W. Bettencourt, Alex R. McLaury, Afton K. Limberg, Juan S. Vargas-Hernandez, Banu Bayram, Aaron R. Owen, Daniel J. Berry, Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo, Mark E. Morrey, Andre J van Wijnen, Matthew P. Abdel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Protein detection techniques such as western blotting and ELISA rely on housekeeping proteins as standards for sample normalization. However, clinical or animal tissue specimens are heterogeneous due to presence of contaminating cell types and tissues (e.g., blood vessels and muscle) or cellular decay during tissue storage and isolation which may compromise protein integrity. This biological heterogeneity may invalidate the assumption that housekeeping proteins are invariable across various specimens. This study provides data that advocate for protein standardization based on total protein staining in rabbit posterior capsular tissues. We compared the classical normalization markers glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and β-tubulin (TUBB) with other proteins that have low variation in expression (i.e., FTL, FTH1, EEF1A1, TPT1) based on RNAseq data for human posterior capsular tissues. Histological examination revealed a high degree of qualitative variation in microscopic images of capsular tissue specimens. This variation is reflected by significant differences in specific protein signals for all housekeeping proteins as detected by western blot analysis. However, total protein staining, which combines the intensity of multiple gel electrophoretic bands, normalizes natural biological variation observed for individual housekeeping proteins and permits assessment of protein integrity. Therefore, we propose that normalization based on total protein staining increases accuracy of protein quantification of heterogeneous tissue specimen samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100641
JournalGene Reports
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Housekeeping
  • Protein quantification
  • Tissue samples
  • Total protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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  • Cite this

    Bettencourt, J. W., McLaury, A. R., Limberg, A. K., Vargas-Hernandez, J. S., Bayram, B., Owen, A. R., Berry, D. J., Sanchez-Sotelo, J., Morrey, M. E., van Wijnen, A. J., & Abdel, M. P. (2020). Total protein staining is superior to classical or tissue-specific protein staining for standardization of protein biomarkers in heterogeneous tissue samples. Gene Reports, 19, [100641]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genrep.2020.100641