Deiminated proteins and extracellular vesicles - novel serum biomarkers in whales and Orca

Magnadottir, Bergljot; Uysal-Onganer, Pinar; Kraev, Igor; Svansson, Vilhjalmur; Hayes, Polly and Lange, Sigrun (2020). Deiminated proteins and extracellular vesicles - novel serum biomarkers in whales and Orca. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics, 34, article no. 100676.



Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) are a family of phylogenetically conserved calcium-dependent enzymes which cause post-translational protein deimination. This can result in neoepitope generation, affect gene regulation and allow for protein moonlighting via functional and structural changes in target proteins. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) carry cargo proteins and genetic material and are released from cells as part of cellular communication. EVs are found in most body fluids where they can be useful biomarkers for assessment of health status. Here, serum-derived EVs were profiled, and post-translationally deiminated proteins and EV-related microRNAs are described in 5 ceataceans: minke whale, fin whale, humpback whale, Cuvier's beaked whale and orca. EV-serum profiles were assessed by transmission electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis. EV profiles varied between the 5 species and were identified to contain deiminated proteins and selected key inflammatory and metabolic microRNAs. A range of proteins, critical for immune responses and metabolism were identified to be deiminated in cetacean sera, with some shared KEGG pathways of deiminated proteins relating to immunity and physiology, while some KEGG pathways were species-specific. This is the first study to characterise and profile EVs and to report deiminated proteins and putative effects of protein-protein interaction networks via such post-translationald deimination in cetaceans, revealing key immune and metabolic factors to undergo this post-translational modification. Deiminated proteins and EVs profiles may possibly be developed as new biomarkers for assessing health status of sea mammals.

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