Scientific reports

Mapping sites of aspirin-induced acetylations in live cells by quantitative acid-cleavable activity-based protein profiling (QA-ABPP).

PMID 25600173


Target-identification and understanding of mechanism-of-action (MOA) are challenging for development of small-molecule probes and their application in biology and drug discovery. For example, although aspirin has been widely used for more than 100 years, its molecular targets have not been fully characterized. To cope with this challenge, we developed a novel technique called quantitative acid-cleavable activity-based protein profiling (QA-ABPP) with combination of the following two parts: (i) activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) and iTRAQ™ quantitative proteomics for identification of target proteins and (ii) acid-cleavable linker-based ABPP for identification of peptides with specific binding sites. It is known that reaction of aspirin with its target proteins leads to acetylation. We thus applied the above technique using aspirin-based probes in human cancer HCT116 cells. We identified 1110 target proteins and 2775 peptides with exact acetylation sites. By correlating these two sets of data, 523 proteins were identified as targets of aspirin. We used various biological assays to validate the effects of aspirin on inhibition of protein synthesis and induction of autophagy which were elicited from the pathway analysis of Aspirin target profile. This technique is widely applicable for target identification in the field of drug discovery and biology, especially for the covalent drugs.