MPLEx: A method for simultaneous pathogen inactivation and extraction of samples for multi-omics profiling

Kristin E. Burnum-Johnson, Jennifer E. Kyle, Amie J. Eisfeld, Cameron P. Casey, Kelly G. Stratton, Juan F. Gonzalez, Fabien Habyarimana, Nicholas M. Negretti, Amy C. Sims, Sadhana Chauhan, Larissa B. Thackray, Peter J. Halfmann, Kevin B. Walters, Young Mo Kim, Erika M. Zink, Carrie D. Nicora, Karl K. Weitz, Bobbie Jo M. Webb-Robertson, Ernesto S. Nakayasu, Brian AhmerMichael E. Konkel, Vladimir Motin, Ralph S. Baric, Michael S. Diamond, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Katrina M. Waters, Richard D. Smith, Thomas O. Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The continued emergence and spread of infectious agents is of great concern, and systems biology approaches to infectious disease research can advance our understanding of host-pathogen relationships and facilitate the development of new therapies and vaccines. Molecular characterization of infectious samples outside of appropriate biosafety containment can take place only subsequent to pathogen inactivation. Herein, we describe a modified Folch extraction using chloroform/methanol that facilitates the molecular characterization of infectious samples by enabling simultaneous pathogen inactivation and extraction of proteins, metabolites, and lipids for subsequent mass spectrometry-based multi-omics measurements. This single-sample metabolite, protein and lipid extraction (MPLEx) method resulted in complete inactivation of clinically important bacterial and viral pathogens with exposed lipid membranes, including Yersinia pestis, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Campylobacter jejuni in pure culture, and Yersinia pestis, Campylobacter jejuni, and West Nile, MERS-CoV, Ebola, and influenza H7N9 viruses in infection studies. In addition, >99% inactivation, which increased with solvent exposure time, was also observed for pathogens without exposed lipid membranes including community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile spores and vegetative cells, and adenovirus type 5. The overall pipeline of inactivation and subsequent proteomic, metabolomic, and lipidomic analyses was evaluated using a human epithelial lung cell line infected with wild-type and mutant influenza H7N9 viruses, thereby demonstrating that MPLEx yields biomaterial of sufficient quality for subsequent multi-omics analyses. Based on these experimental results, we believe that MPLEx will facilitate systems biology studies of infectious samples by enabling simultaneous pathogen inactivation and multi-omics measurements from a single specimen with high success for pathogens with exposed lipid membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-448
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 30 2017


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