Hepes-glutamic acid buffer-mediated organic solvent protection effect (HOPE)-fixation has been introduced as an alternative to formalin fixation of clinical samples. Beyond preservation of morphological structures for histology, HOPE-fixation was demonstrated to be compatible with recent methods for RNA and DNA sequencing. However, the suitability of HOPE-fixed materials for the inspection of proteomes by mass spectrometry so far remained undefined. This is of particular interest, since proteins constitute a prime resource for drug research and can give valuable insights into the activity status of signaling pathways. In this study, we extracted proteins from human lung tissue and tested HOPE-treated and snap-frozen tissues comparatively by proteome and phosphoproteome analyses. High confident data from accurate mass spectrometry allowed the identification of 2603 proteins and 3036 phosphorylation sites. HOPE-fixation did not hinder the representative extraction of proteins, and investigating their biochemical properties, covered subcellular localizations, and cellular processes revealed no bias caused by the type of fixation. In conclusion, proteome as well as phosphoproteome data of HOPE lung samples were qualitatively equivalent to results obtained from snap-frozen tissues. Thus, HOPE-treated tissues match clinical demands in both histology and retrospective proteome analyses of patient samples by proteomics.
Keywords: HOPE-fixation technique; LC-MS/MS; biobank; lung tissues; phosphorylation; post-translational modifications; proteome.