Our infrastructure at the service of Luxembourg researchers

The support of Luxembourg’s research community being one of its key priorities, IBBL regularly works in close cooperation with local researchers to assist them in the path towards their scientific discoveries. An instance is the collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Health on phosphoprotein and cytokine analysis, using the Bio-Rad Bio-Plex system.

Phosphoproteins – proteins that have been modified post-translationally by the addition of phosphoric acid – have been recognised as useful candidate biomarkers in cancer. However, they are unstable and particularly susceptible to pre-analytical variables, such as ischemia time, storage condition, and biomolecular extraction method, during sample collection and processing, which can affect their detection or quantification.

In order to assess the effect of different tissue stabilisation methods (namely heat stabilisation and snap-freezing) and protein extraction protocols on phosphoprotein preservation, a team of researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and IBBL sought to measure their concentrations in murine brain tissue samples. IBBL’s Bio-Rad Bio-Plex phosphoprotein assay – a system enabling the measurement of analytes such as phosphoproteins in liquid samples – was used in order to carry out the analysis. The system is advantageous in that it allows the simultaneous quantification of multiple phosphoproteins (‘multiplex’) in one run, using only a single sample. This way, the team could evaluate phosphoprotein concentrations in the two differently stabilised tissues, and found that heat-stabilised samples reported higher concentrations compared to the corresponding snap-frozen samples.

“Our results suggest that heat stabilisation can be used as a tissue processing method for subsequent phosphoprotein analyses, but also indicate that the Bio-Plex phosphoprotein assay is a useful quality control method to assess the integrity of tissue samples”, explains Dr. Fred Fack, the LIH researcher involved in the study.

Similarly, the IBBL team assisted a group of scientists from the University of Luxembourg by providing them with access to the Bio-Plex platform for the multiplex measurement and analysis of various cytokines.

“We are always pleased to be supporting our fellow researchers, not only through the provision of traditional biobanking services, but also by putting our state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure at their disposal”, states Dr. Olga Kofanova, Biospecimen Research Team Leader at IBBL. “Indeed, knowledge sharing and cooperation between Luxembourg research institutes are the foundation of high-quality research outcomes”, adds Dr. Fay Betsou, Chief Scientific Officer at IBBL.

The results of the collaboration between the LIH and IBBL on the effect of tissue stabilisation and protein extraction methods on phosphoprotein analysis were published in the scientific publication available here.