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Clin Proteomics. 2013 Feb 8;10(1):2. doi: 10.1186/1559-0275-10-2.

Quantitative proteomic analysis of amniocytes reveals potentially dysregulated molecular networks in Down syndrome.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Down syndrome (DS), caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, affects 1 in 750 live births and is characterized by cognitive impairment and a constellation of congenital defects. Currently, little is known about the molecular pathogenesis and no direct genotype-phenotype relationship has yet been confirmed. Since DS amniocytes are expected to have a distinct biological behaviour compared to normal amniocytes, we hypothesize that relative quantification of proteins produced from trisomy and euploid (chromosomally normal) amniocytes will reveal dysregulated molecular pathways.


Chromosomally normal- and Trisomy 21-amniocytes were quantitatively analyzed by using Stable Isotope Labeling of Amino acids in Cell culture and tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 4919 unique proteins were identified from the supernatant and cell lysate proteome. More specifically, 4548 unique proteins were identified from the lysate, and 91% of these proteins were quantified based on MS/MS spectra ratios of peptides containing isotope-labeled amino acids. A total of 904 proteins showed significant differential expression and were involved in 25 molecular pathways, each containing a minimum of 16 proteins. Sixty of these proteins consistently showed aberrant expression from trisomy 21 affected amniocytes, indicating their potential role in DS pathogenesis. Nine proteins were analyzed with a multiplex selected reaction monitoring assay in an independent set of Trisomy 21-amniocyte samples and two of them (SOD1 and NES) showed a consistent differential expression.


The most extensive proteome of amniocytes and amniotic fluid has been generated and differentially expressed proteins from amniocytes with Trisomy 21 revealed molecular pathways that seem to be most significantly affected by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21.

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