Enable proteomic analysis of infectious samples

Safely remove samples from BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories for analysis      

The ability to conduct reliable biomarker research can accelerate the process of developing vaccines,    anti-viral drugs and treatment schemes for infectious diseases. However, molecular analysis of infected samples, e.g. samples from BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs, is generally severely restricted. This is partly due to the limited range of instrumentation that can be operated in containment labs as well as the methods used to ensure sample sterility as the samples are removed from containment labs. The methods used to ensure sterility generally compromise the molecular composition making further analysis difficult or impossible. To address the dual problem of molecular preservation from post-sampling changes as well as inactivation of pathogens, Dr. Lisa Cazares at USARMID, USA, has used the Stabilizor™ system in a new way.

USAMRIID use heat stabilization to enable proteomic analysis of infectious tissue samples

Complete inactivation of 8 strings of bacteria and viruses (no viable pathogens were detected) combined with complete compatibility of proteomic analysis using MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization) tissue imaging was demonstrated. This means that with all tested bacteria and virus inactivated, and in combination with a surface disinfectant sterilization of the Maintainor Tissue cards, removal of samples from containment lab in a state relevant for molecular analysis was enabled. It was safe for the researcher to proceed with proteomic analyses outside the BSL-4 facility. Potential biomarkers were stabilized in the process as well in the form of metabolites, proteins, peptides, and posttranslational modifications (see publication below). In this way the technology enables analyses on such infected tissues in the biosafety laboratory as well as in lower grade analysis laboratories. The fact that USAMRIID regularly utilizes the Stabilizor system in their BSL-4 facility can be considered an important validation of the system’s applicability to ensure both pathogen inactivation and biomarker stability.

Heat stabilization is an additive-free preservation technology for tissues and biofluids which stops enzymatic activity immediately and permanently. This ensures that the sample is stable from the moment of sampling until the point of analysis and free from ex vivo proteolysis that otherwise causes rapid degradation of the proteome content. The technology thereby increases the accuracy and quality of the following analytical results. Heat stabilization offers significant advantages over conventional approaches to preventing biological change. It replaces snap freezing followed by inhibitors, pH changes, organic solvents or cross-linking. Heat stabilization stops degradation and changes, immediately and permanently, whereas snap freezing followed by inhibitors leads to post sampling effects during sample handling and preparation. Heat stabilization can also be used with frozen tissue, allowing you to stabilize your currently stored samples. Learn more about heat stabilization

Indications on coming European regulations regarding laboratory safety

Denator is currently working with several customers who are implementing or evaluating the Stabilizor as a part of their lab safety SOP. There are indications that EMEA issue further regulations within the next years, requiring all laboratories to implement standard SOP’s for handling samples that may pose an infection risk for the lab personnel. Our customers findings indicate that implementing heat stabilization as part of the SOP’s is one possible way to address new regulatory demand.

Recommended reading

Heat fixation inactivates viral and bacterial pathogens and is compatible with downstream MALDI mass spectrometry tissue imaging. Lisa H Cazares et al. BMC Microbiology 2015, 15:101. 

Denator AB supplies the Stabilizor system but does not assume any responsibility for the correct handling or maintenance of the system to ensure continued correct function of the system. Contact your local Denator representative to discuss applicability and relevant technical implementations.