HBU Students Published a Paper on Nature Chemical Biology


He Jixiang, a postgraduate majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Diagnosis of the Ministry of Education, Hebei University, recently made significant advancements in chemoproteomic probes and published a paper on Nature Chemical Biology titled A modification-centric assessment tool for the performance of chemoproteomic probes (2022, 18, 904–912. IF=16.174). Nature Chemical Biology is a top journal in the field of Chemical Biology.

The primary affiliation of this paper is Hebei University. The first author is He Jixiang and the first co-author is Fei Zhengcong, a postgraduate of the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The co-corresponding authors are Researcher Yang Jing of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and Researcher Chi Hao of the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The development of an efficient and selective probe is a key area in chemoproteomics but is challenging. On the one hand, the highly complex chemical environment in biological systems may amplify the potential side effects of probes, thus resulting in unexpected protein modifications. On the other hand, probe and probe modification may undergo "Variation" while processing samples, complicating data analysis. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the labeling selectivity and efficiency of probes at a proteome level. However, there has been no uniform and objective assessment method in the field for a long time. To this end, the team led by He Jixiang developed pChem, the first open-source tool to assess chemoproteomic probes. This tool can calibrate, select, rank, and isotopically modify chemoproteomic results. In addition, it can calculate their exact molecular weight, probability of locating residues, loss of mass spectrum feature, and other important information. Moreover, pChem can provide a visual assessment report for probe developers that will score the labeling efficiency, modification homogeneity, and site selectivity of a chemoproteomic probe.

In conclusion, pChem can improve the efficiency and quality of the development of the chemoproteomic probe. Thanks to its flexible computational framework, it is expected to be applied in other fields such as RNA-protein crosslinking, drug metabolism activation, and the discovery of new endogenous modifications.

Prof. Alexander Leitner of ETH Zurich praised the advancement and said that pChem offered a powerful solution for a comprehensive understanding of chemical probes in a review article titled Probing the secrets of probes, which was published at the same time.

This research work has been granted support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and many experts like Academician He Fuchu and Researcher He Simin.

In order to promote interdisciplinary development, improve the quality of talents, and enhance the further development and academic influence of the Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Diagnosis of the Ministry of Education, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was set up and began to enroll students in 2013 and was renamed Chemical Biology in 2021.

For years, the lab has been taking active action to reform and upgrade postgraduate training models. With the coordination and support of school leaders, Hebei University signed in 2019 with the Academy of Military Medicine of the Academy of Military Sciences to establish a joint postgraduate training program and selected outstanding students to study in the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in the same year. He Jixiang was among the second dispatch of selected postgraduate students that year.

Paper link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41589-022-01074-8