Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation Fellow Profile

Gerasimos Bastas Philadelphia, PA


Fellow Profile

Current Site Of Practice: Philadelphia
Hospital Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania
Focus of Research: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Fellowship Year: 2006 – 2007
Attended: Boston University


Accurate identification of paraprotein antigen targets by epitope reconstruction.

Co-Authors Bastas G, Vani K, Bogen SA.

We describe the first successful clinical application of a new discovery technology, epitope-mediated antigen prediction (E-MAP), to the investigation of multiple myeloma. Until now, there has been no reliable, systematic method to identify the cognate antigens of paraproteins. E-MAP is a variation of previous efforts to reconstruct the epitopes of paraproteins, with the significant difference that it provides enough epitope sequence data so as to enable successful protein database searches. We first reconstruct the paraprotein's epitope by analyzing the peptides that strongly bind. Then, we compile the data and interrogate the nonredundant protein database, searching for a close match. As a clinical proof-of-concept, we apply this technology to uncovering the protein targets of para-proteins in multiple myeloma (MM). E-MAP analysis of 2 MM paraproteins identified human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) as a target in both. E-MAP sequence analysis determined that one para-protein binds to the AD-2S1 epitope of HCMV glycoprotein B. The other binds to the amino terminus of the HCMV UL-48 gene product. We confirmed these predictions using immunoassays and immunoblot analyses. E-MAP represents a new investigative tool for analyzing the role of chronic antigenic stimulation in B-lymphoproliferative disorders.

Blood. 2008 Jan 1;111(1):302-8. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

More: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17878398?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Bioinformatic requirements for protein database searching using predicted epitopes from disease-associated antibodies.

Co-Authors Sompuram SR, Pierce B, Vani K, Bogen SA.

We describe a new approach to identify proteins involved in disease pathogenesis. The technology, Epitope-Mediated Antigen Prediction (E-MAP), leverages the specificity of patients' immune responses to disease-relevant targets and requires no prior knowledge about the protein. E-MAP links pathologic antibodies of unknown specificity, isolated from patient sera, to their cognate antigens in the protein database. The E-MAP process first involves reconstruction of a predicted epitope using a peptide combinatorial library. We then search the protein database for closely matching amino acid sequences. Previously published attempts to identify unknown antibody targets in this manner have largely been unsuccessful for two reasons: 1) short predicted epitopes yield too many irrelevant matches from a database search and 2) the epitopes may not accurately represent the native antigen with sufficient fidelity. Using an in silico model, we demonstrate the critical threshold requirements for epitope length and epitope fidelity. We find that epitopes generally need to have at least seven amino acids, with an overall accuracy of >70% to the native protein, in order to correctly identify the protein in a nonredundant protein database search. We then confirmed these findings experimentally, using the predicted epitopes for four monoclonal antibodies. Since many predicted epitopes often fail to achieve the seven amino acid threshold, we demonstrate the efficacy of paired epitope searches. This is the first systematic analysis of the computational framework to make this approach viable, coupled with experimental validation.

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2008 Feb;7(2):247-56. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

More: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17897933?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum