Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Non-Tobacco Associated Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Reveals Deregulation of Cytoskeletal and Apoptotic Proteins

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Microbiology, S.R.M Dental College, Ramapuram, Campus, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India.


Background: The exact etiology of non-tobacco associated oral squamous cell carcinoma (NT-OSCC) is still unknown. The lack of established biomarkers for oral NT-OSCC has resulted in less effective management and poor prognosis. Here, we report for the first time a panel of potential markers identified from the quantitative proteomic analysis of NT-OSCC using two-dimensional gel-electrophoresis (2D-GE) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization - time of flight (MALDI-TOF) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) and further analysis using protein analysis through evolutionary relationships (PANTHER) database. Objective: To quantitatively analyze the proteomic profile of non-tobacco associated oral squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: Twenty fresh tissue samples were collected from healthy controls and NT-OSCC, ten each, and were subjected to proteomic analysis. Sample quantification for the presence of protein was done using Bradford assay and bovine serum albumin was used as a standard protein to obtain the standard graph. Fractionation of protein was done using sodium dodecyl sulphate – polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and they were separated based on their molecular weight. MS analysis was done and the purified peptides were analysed using MALDI-TOF. PANTHER database for functional classification and pathway analysis was done for identification of protein expression. Results: Our approach of combining 2D-GE with MS identified four candidate proteins including keratin, alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), S100 and serpin B5 with significant differential expression in NT-OSCC as compared with healthy controls. The results showed that the levels of these proteins were significantly upregulated in NT-OSCC when compared to the healthy controls that suggests that these proteins can be used as candidate targets for NT-OSCC therapeutics. Conclusion: The differentially expressed proteins are found to be involved in apoptotic signalling pathways, cytoskeletal dynamics and are known to play a critical role in oral tumorigenesis. Put together, the results provide available baseline information for understanding the development and progression of NT-OSCC. These identified proteins on further validation may be used as potential biomarkers in future for early detection and predicting therapeutic outcome of patients with NT-OSCC.


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