Antibody reliability influences observed mRNA–protein correlations in tumour samples


Reverse phase protein arrays (RPPA) have been used to quantify the abundance of hundreds of proteins across thousands of tumour samples in the Cancer Genome Atlas. By number of samples, this is the largest tumour proteomic dataset available and it provides an opportunity to systematically assess the correlation between mRNA and protein abundances. However, the RPPA approach is highly dependent on antibody reliability and approximately one-quarter of the antibodies used in the the Cancer Genome Atlas are deemed to be somewhat less reliable. Here, we assess the impact of antibody reliability on observed mRNA-protein correlations. We find that, in general, proteins measured with less reliable antibodies have lower observed mRNA{ extendash}protein correlations. This is not true of the same proteins when measured using mass spectrometry. Furthermore, in cell lines, we find that when the same protein is quantified by both mass spectrometry and RPPA, the overall correlation between the two measurements is lower for proteins measured with less reliable antibodies. Overall our results reinforce the need for caution in using RPPA measurements from less reliable antibodies.

Life Science Alliance
Colm J. Ryan
Colm J. Ryan
Assistant Professor