Integrated SWATH-based and targeted-based proteomics provide insights into the retinal emmetropization process in guinea pig

Sze Wan Shan, Yan Yin Tse, Bing Zuo, Chi Ho To, Quan Liu, Sally A. McFadden, Rachel Ka Man Chun, Jingfang Bian, King Kit Li, Chuen Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Myopia is generally regarded as a failure of normal emmetropization process, however, its underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear. To investigate the retinal protein profile changes during emmetropization, we studied differential protein expressions of ocular growth in young guinea pigs at 3 and 21 days old respectively, when significant axial elongation was detected (P < 0.001, n = 10). Independent pooled retinal samples of both eyes were subjected to SWATH mass spectrometry (MS) followed by bioinformatics analysis using cloud-based platforms. A comprehensive retina SWATH ion-library consisting of 3138 (22,871) unique proteins (peptides) at 1% FDR was constructed. 40 proteins were found to be significantly up-regulated and 8 proteins down-regulated during emmetropization (≥log2 of 0.43 with ≥2 peptides matched per protein; P < 0.05). Using pathway analysis, the most significant pathway identifiable was ‘phototransduction’ (P = 1.412e−4). Expression patterns of 7 proteins identified in this pathway were further validated and confirmed (P < 0.05) with high-resolution Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM-HR) MS. Combining discovery and targeted proteomics approaches, this study for the first time comprehensively profiled protein changes in the guinea pig retina during normal emmetropization-associated eye growth. The findings of this study are also relevant to the myopia development, which is the result of failed emmetropization. Significance: Myopia is considered as a failure of emmetropization. However, the underlying biochemical mechanism of emmetropization, a visually guided process in which eye grows towards the optimal optical state of clear vision during early development, is not well understood. Retina is known as the key tissue to regulate this active eye growth. we studied eye growth of young guinea pigs and harvested their retinal tissues. A comprehensive SWATH ion library with identification of a total 3138 unique proteins were established, in which 48 proteins exhibited significant differential expressions between 3 and 21 days old. After MRM-HR confirmation, ‘phototransduction’ were found as the most active pathway during emmetropic eye growth. This study is the first in discovering key retinal protein players and pathways which are presumably orchestrated by biological mechanism(s) underlying emmetropization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • Emmetropization
  • Guinea pigs
  • Myopia
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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