Imaging Mass Spectrometry and Proteome Analysis of Marek’s Disease Virus-Induced Tumors
The highly oncogenic alphaherpesvirus Marek’s disease virus (MDV) causes immense economic losses in the poultry industry. MDV induces a variety of symptoms in infected chickens, including neurological disorders and immunosuppression. Most notably, MDV induces transformation of lymphocytes, leading to T cell lymphomas in visceral organs with a mortality of up to 100%. While several factors involved in MDV tumorigenesis have been identified, the transformation process and tumor composition remain poorly understood. Here we developed an imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) approach that allows sensitive visualization of MDV-induced lymphoma with a specific mass profile and precise differentiation from the surrounding tissue. To identify potential tumor markers in tumors derived from a very virulent wild-type virus and a telomerase RNA-deficient mutant, we performed laser capture microdissection (LCM) and thereby obtained tumor samples with no or minimal contamination from surrounding nontumor tissue. The proteomes of the LCM samples were subsequently analyzed by quantitative mass spectrometry based on stable isotope labeling. Several proteins, like interferon gamma-inducible protein 30 and a 70-kDa heat shock protein, were identified that are differentially expressed in tumor tissue compared to surrounding tissue and naive T cells. Taken together, our results demonstrate for the first time that MDV-induced tumors can be visualized using IMS, and we identified potential MDV tumor markers by analyzing the proteomes of virus-induced tumors.