Building the Environmental Chemical-Protein Interaction Network

March 6, 2023 by Kiran Champatsingh

Professor Hui Peng published Building the Environmental Chemical-Protein Interaction Network (eCPIN): An Exposome-Wide Strategy for Bioactive Chemical Contaminant Identification the journal Environmental Science & Technology. 


Although advancements in nontargeted analysis have made it possible to detect hundreds of chemical contaminants in a single run, the current environmental toxicology approaches lag behind, precluding the transition from analytical chemistry efforts to health risk assessment. We herein highlighted a recently developed “top-down” bioanalytical method, protein Affinity Purification with Nontargeted Analysis (APNA), to screen for bioactive chemical contaminants at the “exposome-wide” level. To achieve this, a tagged functional protein is employed as a “bait” to directly isolate bioactive chemical contaminants from environmental mixtures, which are further identified by nontargeted analysis. Advantages of this protein-guided approach, including the discovery of new bioactive ligands as well as new protein targets for known chemical contaminants, were highlighted by several case studies. Encouraged by these successful applications, we further proposed a framework, i.e., the environmental Chemical-Protein Interaction Network (eCPIN), to construct a complete map of the 7 billion binary interactions between all chemical contaminants (>350,000) and human proteins (∼20,000) via APNA. The eCPIN could be established in three stages through strategically prioritizing the ∼20,000 human proteins, such as focusing on the 48 nuclear receptors (e.g., thyroid hormone receptors) in the first stage. The eCPIN will provide an unprecedented throughput for screening bioactive chemical contaminants at the exposome-wide level and facilitate the identification of molecular initiating events at the proteome-wide level.