by Spyros Darmanis, Rachel Yuan Nong, Johan Vänelid, Agneta Siegbahn, Olle Ericsson, Simon Fredriksson, Christofer Bäcklin, Marta Gut, Simon Heath, Ivo Glynne Gut, Lars Wallentin, Mats G. Gustafsson, Masood Kamali-Moghaddam, Ulf Landegren
Despite intense interest, methods that provide enhanced sensitivity and specificity in parallel measurements of candidate protein biomarkers in numerous samples have been lacking. We present herein a multiplex proximity ligation assay with readout via realtime PCR or DNA sequencing (ProteinSeq). We demonstrate improved sensitivity over conventional sandwich assays for simultaneous analysis of sets of 35 proteins in 5 µl of blood plasma. Importantly, we observe a minimal tendency to increased background with multiplexing, compared to a sandwich assay, suggesting that higher levels of multiplexing are possible. We used ProteinSeq to analyze proteins in plasma samples from cardiovascular disease (CVD) patient cohorts and matched controls. Three proteins, namely P-selectin, Cystatin-B and Kallikrein-6, were identified as putative diagnostic biomarkers for CVD. The latter two have not been previously reported in the literature and their potential roles must be validated in larger patient cohorts. We conclude that ProteinSeq is promising for screening large numbers of proteins and samples while the technology can provide a much-needed platform for validation of diagnostic markers in biobank samples and in clinical use.