Lingyin Li, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
Investigation of Natural and Synthetic Aggregation Inhibitors using Microfluidic Applications
CELL PRESS. 2020: 337A
View details for Web of Science ID 000513023202181
Development of cGAMP-Luc, a sensitive and precise coupled enzyme assay to measure cGAMP in complex biological samples.
The Journal of biological chemistry
2'5'/3'5' cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) is a second messenger produced in response to cytosolic dsDNA that activates the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway. We recently discovered that cGAMP is exported by cancer cells and that this extracellular signal is an immunotransmitter key to tumor detection and elimination by the innate immune system. The enhancement of extracellular cGAMP levels therefore holds great promise for managing cancer. However, there is still much more to understand about the basic biology of cGAMP before its full therapeutic potential can be realized. To answer these questions, we must be able to detect and quantitate cGAMP with an assay that is high throughput, sensitive, and precise. Existing assays fall short of these needs. Here, we describe the development of cGAMP-Luc, a coupled enzyme assay that relies on the degradation of cGAMP to AMP by ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1) and an optimized assay for the detection of AMP by luciferase. We also developed STING-CAP, a STING-mediated method to concentrate and purify cGAMP from any type of biological sample. We conclude that cGAMP-Luc is an economical high throughput assay that matches the accuracy of and surpasses the detection limit of mass spectrometry, the current gold standard of cGAMP quantitation. We propose that cGAMP-Luc is a powerful tool that may enable discoveries that advance insights into extracellular cGAMP levels in healthy and diseased tissues, such as cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.RA119.012170
View details for PubMedID 32127400
Real-Time Intrinsic Fluorescence Visualization and Sizing of Proteins and Protein Complexes in Microfluidic Devices
2018; 90 (6): 3849–55
Optical detection has become a convenient and scalable approach to read out information from microfluidic systems. For the study of many key biomolecules, however, including peptides and proteins, which have low fluorescence emission efficiencies at visible wavelengths, this approach typically requires labeling of the species of interest with extrinsic fluorophores to enhance the optical signal obtained - a process which can be time-consuming, requires purification steps, and has the propensity to perturb the behavior of the systems under study due to interactions between the labels and the analyte molecules. As such, the exploitation of the intrinsic fluorescence of protein molecules in the UV range of the electromagnetic spectrum is an attractive path to allow the study of unlabeled proteins. However, direct visualization using 280 nm excitation in microfluidic devices has to date commonly required the use of coherent sources with frequency multipliers and devices fabricated out of materials that are incompatible with soft lithography techniques. Here, we have developed a simple, robust, and cost-effective 280 nm LED platform that allows real-time visualization of intrinsic fluorescence from both unlabeled proteins and protein complexes in polydimethylsiloxane microfluidic channels fabricated through soft lithography. Using this platform, we demonstrate intrinsic fluorescence visualization of proteins at nanomolar concentrations on chip and combine visualization with micron-scale diffusional sizing to measure the hydrodynamic radii of individual proteins and protein complexes under their native conditions in solution in a label-free manner.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b04523
View details for Web of Science ID 000428219600030
View details for PubMedID 29451779
beta-Synuclein suppresses both the initiation and amplification steps of alpha-synuclein aggregation via competitive binding to surfaces
2016; 6: 36010
α-Synuclein is an intrinsically disordered protein that is associated with the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease through the processes involved in the formation of amyloid fibrils. α and β-synuclein are homologous proteins found at comparable levels in presynaptic terminals but β-synuclein has a greatly reduced propensity to aggregate and indeed has been found to inhibit α-synuclein aggregation. In this paper, we describe how sequence differences between α- and β-synuclein affect individual microscopic processes in amyloid formation. In particular, we show that β-synuclein strongly suppresses both lipid-induced aggregation and secondary nucleation of α-synuclein by competing for binding sites at the surfaces of lipid vesicles and fibrils, respectively. These results suggest that β-synuclein can act as a natural inhibitor of α-synuclein aggregation by reducing both the initiation of its self-assembly and the proliferation of its aggregates.
View details for DOI 10.1038/srep36010
View details for Web of Science ID 000386845400001
View details for PubMedID 27808107
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5093550