Freezing effects on the acute myeloid leukemia cell proteome and phosphoproteome revealed using optimal quantitative workflows

J Proteomics. 2016 Aug 11:145:214-225. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2016.03.049. Epub 2016 Apr 20.


MS-based proteomic studies aiming for the discovery of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) biomarkers require sample processing that can assure an optimal proteome coverage and identification of PTMs. We evaluated different in-solution and filter-aided sample preparation (FASP) proteomic workflows and different enrichment strategies of phosphorylated peptides. The FASP protocols in the label-free and SILAC (stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell culture) approaches were selected for producing the highest number of quantified proteins with reduced number of missed cleavages. The IMAC method was selected for producing the highest number of quantified phosphopeptides from SILAC-labelled peptides prepared with FASP. Using these selected workflows, we studied the effect of liquid nitrogen storage on the proteome and phosphoproteome of four AML patients. Our results showed that although there was not a major global proteome and phosphoproteome change when compared to their freshly processed counterparts, the freezing appeared to influence the abundance of mitochondrial proteins involved in the respiratory chain transport and affect the phosphorylation of apoptosis related proteins, cell surface interactors, ERK/MAPK targets and proteins involved in thrombin signalling. Our results encourage the assessment of current procedures of AML sample collection and preservation that could be used in future AML biomarker discovery studies.

Biological significance: Proteomic studies aiming to identify potential cancer biomarkers need to utilize the best sample preparation workflows on the samples of interest to achieve maximal proteome coverage. We have tested the most popular and recent proteomic and phosphoproteomic methods on cell lysates from patients with AML and systematically evaluated their performance. Our study shows the relevance of selecting the patient sample procedure giving the highest protein and PTM coverage. Moreover, we assessed how the proteome and phosphoproteome were affected by the conventional liquid nitrogen storage compared to cell lysis of fresh material, using the methods that worked best in our hands. For potential biomarkers that could be used for AML diagnostic and prognostic, it is of great importance to study the behaviour during sample conservation in order to avoid artefactual findings. Our results recommend caution in data interpretation when using different protocols of sample collection and conservation for proteomic and phosphosproteomic research.

Keywords: Acute myeloid leukemia; Biomarkers; Phosphoproteomics; Proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Electron Transport
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Freezing*
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology*
  • Phosphopeptides / analysis
  • Phosphopeptides / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Thrombin / metabolism
  • Workflow


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Phosphopeptides
  • Proteome
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Thrombin