Differential Proteomic Analysis of Gender-dependent Hepatic Tumorigenesis in Hras12V Transgenic Mice

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2017 Aug;16(8):1475-1490. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M116.065474. Epub 2017 May 16.


Male prevalence is an outstanding characteristic of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the underlying mechanisms for this have remained largely unknown. In the present study, Hras12V transgenic mice, in which hepatocyte-specific expression of the ras oncogene induces male-biased hepatic tumorigenesis, were studied, and altered proteins were detected by two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE). Protein samples from hepatic tumor tissues (T) and peritumor tissues (P) of transgenic males and females and the corresponding normal liver tissues (Wt) of nontransgenic males and females were subjected to pairwise comparisons based on proteomic analysis. Among 2381 autodetected protein spots, more than 1600 were differentially expressed based on a pairwise comparison (|ratio| > = 1.5, p < = 0.05). Of these, 180 spots were randomly selected for matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS) identification; finally, 89 distinct proteins were obtained. Among these 89 proteins, 7 and 50 proteins were further validated by Western blotting and literature investigation, respectively. Intriguingly, compared with Wt, the altered proteins were relatively concentrated in T in transgenic females but in P in transgenic males. Consistently, the levels of p-ERK and p-mTOR were significantly higher in the T of females compared with that of males. The pathway enrichment assay showed that 5 pathways in males but only 1 in females were significantly altered in terms of the upregulated proteins in T compared with Wt. These data indicate that female hepatocytes are disturbed by oncogenes with great difficulty, whereas male hepatocytes readily do so. In addition, 33 proteins were gender-dependently altered in hepatic tumorigenesis. Moreover, 4% DNA packaging and 4% homeostasis-related functional proteins were found in females but not in males, and more nucleus proteins were found in females (8%) than in males (3%). In conclusion, the proteomic data and comparative analysis presented here offer crucial clues for elucidating the mechanisms that underlie the male prevalence in HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Sex Factors
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Proteome