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Proteomics Insights. 2019 Mar 3;10:1178641818825268. doi: 10.1177/1178641818825268. eCollection 2019.

Expression and Characterization of Human Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein Isoforms and Interacting Proteins in Human Cells.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
OriGene Technology, Inc., Rockville, MD, USA.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Departments of Biochemistry, Neurological Sciences and Pediatrics, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA.


Fragile X mental retardation protein is an mRNA-binding protein associated with phenotypic manifestations of fragile X syndrome, an X-linked disorder caused by mutation in the FMR1 gene that is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. Despite the well-studied genetic mechanism of the disease, the proteoforms of fragile X mental retardation protein have not been thoroughly characterized. Here, we report the expression and mass spectrometric characterization of human fragile X mental retardation protein. FMR1 cDNA clone was transfected into human HEK293 cells to express the full-length human fragile X mental retardation protein. Purified fragile X mental retardation protein was subjected to trypsin digestion and characterized by mass spectrometry. Results show 80.5% protein sequence coverage of fragile X mental retardation protein (Q06787, FMR1_HUMAN) including both the N- and C-terminal peptides, indicating successful expression of the full-length protein. Identified post-translational modifications include N-terminal acetylation, phosphorylation (Ser600), and methylation (Arg290, 471, and 474). In addition to the full-length fragile X mental retardation protein isoform (isoform 6), two endogenous fragile X mental retardation protein alternative splicing isoforms (isoforms 4 and 7), as well as fragile X mental retardation protein interacting proteins, were also identified in the co-purified samples, suggesting the interaction network of the human fragile X mental retardation protein. Quantification was performed at the peptide level, and this information provides important reference for the future development of a targeted assay for quantifying fragile X mental retardation protein in clinical samples. Collectively, this study provides the first comprehensive report of human fragile X mental retardation protein proteoforms and may help advance the mechanistic understanding of fragile X syndrome and related phenotypes associated with the FMR1 mutation.


characterization; fragile X mental retardation protein; interacting proteins; mass spectrometry; post-translational modifications

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of conflicting interests:The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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