Researchers have created a new technique to detect glycoproteins in biological fluids. The Purdue University team engineered an array they called polyGPA (polymer-based reverse phase glycoprotein array) and have shown proof-of-concept experiments in using it to detect the presence of glycoproteins associated with bladder cancer in patient urine samples.
“It is possible to use our platform to identify these sugar-modified proteins as a biomarker for bladder cancer,” said Dr. Andy Tao, principal investigator of the project.
The work by Li Pan and colleagues from the Tao Lab at Purdue University was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.
The authors deposited nanopolymers onto a surface to capture and separate the glycoproteins from human serum and urine samples by binding to their sugar groups. They could then detect and quantify the purified samples using typical detection antibodies. Furthermore, they could detect the degree of glycosylation by normalizing this detected amount to the amount of total protein.
The impact of this work lies in detecting these elusive glycoproteins specifically and with high sensitivity. The polyGPA increased the chances of identifying proteins by 17 to 25-fold compared with conventional detection techniques, according to Tao. By separating the detection of glycoproteins into two steps, isolation and detection, polyGPA could avoid the issues of the complex mixture of competing serum proteins and the lack of glycosylation-specific detection antibodies.
Translation of the polyGPA technology is already in the works through Tao’s company, Tymora Analytical Operations. Tymora offers products to detect phosphoproteins (pIMAGO) and phosphopeptides (polyMAC).
Study in Journal of American Chemical Society: Three-Dimensionally Functionalized Reverse Phase Glycoprotein Array for Cancer Biomarker Discovery and Validation…