Tracking Secreted Proteins

Science Signaling  30 Apr 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 273, pp. ec98
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004275

The proteins secreted by cells provide a flow of information within tissues and are thus of particular interest. However, systematic detection of secreted proteins is tricky because they tend to be present in small amounts within complex mixtures of proteins where other components are very abundant. Meissner et al. developed a method for screening the secreted proteins from cultured mouse macrophages in response to cues that cause inflammation. The amount of contaminating proteins was reduced by culturing the cells without added serum, and then sensitive mass spectrometry techniques were used to detect and quantify secretion of nearly 800 different proteins. Secretion was compared from cells lacking the signaling adaptor proteins MyD88 or TRIF, or both. Secretion of some proteins was regulated redundantly, and some were secreted without one of the adaptors, but others required both signals for release. Some anti-inflammatory proteins were released at later times in response to synergistic signals from both adaptor proteins, perhaps as a fail-safe mechanism to prevent excessive inflammation.

F. Meissner, R. A. Scheltema, H.-J. Mollenkopf, M. Mann, Direct proteomic quantification of the secretome of activated immune cells. Science 340, 475–478 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]