Proteomic identification of membrane-associated placental protein 4 (MP4) as perlecan and characterization of its placental expression in normal and pathologic pregnancies

Nikolett Lilla Szenasi, Eszter Toth, Andrea Balogh, Kata Juhasz, Katalin Karaszi, Oliver Ozohanics, Zsolt Gelencser, Peter Kiraly, Beata Hargitai, Laszlo Drahos, Petronella Hupuczi, Ilona Kovalszky, Zoltan Papp, Nandor Gabor Than

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: More than 50 human placental proteins were isolated and physicochemically characterized in the 70-80s by Hans Bohn and co-workers. Many of these proteins turned to have important role in placental functions and diagnostic significance in pregnancy complications. Among these proteins was membrane-associated placental protein 4 (MP4), for which identity or function has not been identified yet. Our aim was to analyze the sequence and placental expression of this protein in normal and complicated pregnancies including miscarriage, preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Methods: Lyophilized MP4 protein and frozen healthy placental tissue were analyzed using HPLC-MS/MS. Placental tissue samples were obtained from women with elective termination of pregnancy (first trimester controls, n = 31), early pregnancy loss (EPL) (n = 13), early preeclampsia without HELLP syndrome (n = 7) and with HELLP syndrome (n = 8), late preeclampsia (n = 8), third trimester early controls (n = 5) and third trimester late controls (n = 9). Tissue microarrays were constructed from paraffin-embedded placentas (n = 81). Slides were immunostained with monoclonal perlecan antibody and evaluated using light microscopy and virtual microscopy. Perlecan was also analyzed for its expression in placentas from normal pregnancies using microarray data. Results: Mass spectrometry-based proteomics of MP4 resulted in the identification of basement membrane-specific heparan sulfate proteoglycan core protein also known as perlecan. Immunohistochemistry showed cytoplasmic perlecan localization in syncytiotrophoblast and cytotrophoblasts of the villi. Perlecan immunoscore decreased with gestational age in the placenta. Perlecan immunoscores were higher in EPL compared to controls. Perlecan immunoscores were higher in early preeclampsia without and with HELLP syndrome and lower in late preeclampsia than in respective controls. Among patients with preeclampsia, placental perlecan expression positively correlated with maternal vascular malperfusion and negatively correlated with placental weight. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that an increased placental perlecan expression may be associated with hypoxic ischaemic injury of the placenta in miscarriages and in early preeclampsia with or without HELLP syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6982
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Miscarriage
  • Placenta
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteoglycan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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