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Proteomics. 2005 May;5(8):2238-46.

Evaluation of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry proteomic profiling: identification of alpha 2-HS glycoprotein B-chain as a biomarker of diet.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, 98109, USA.


Biomarkers have the potential to impact a wide range of public health concerns, including early detection of diseases, drug discovery, and improved accuracy of monitoring effects of interventions. Given new technological developments, broad-based screening approaches will likely advance biomarker discovery at an accelerated pace. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) allows for the elucidation of individual protein masses from a complex mixture with high throughput. We have developed a method for identifying serum biomarkers using MALDI-TOF and statistical analysis. However, before applying this approach to screening of complex diseases, we evaluated the approach in a controlled dietary intervention study. In this study, MALDI-TOF spectra were generated using samples from a randomized controlled trial. During separate feeding periods, 38 participants ate a basal diet devoid of fruits and vegetables and a basal diet supplemented with cruciferous (broccoli) family vegetables. Serum samples were obtained at the end of each 7-day feeding period and treated to remove large, abundant proteins. MALDI-TOF spectra were analyzed using peak picking algorithms and logistic regression models. Our bioinformatics methods identified two significant peaks at m/z values of 2740 and 1847 that could classify participants based on diet (basal vs. cruciferous) with 76% accuracy. The 2740 m/z peak was identified as the B-chain of alpha 2-HS glycoprotein, a serum protein previously found to vary with diet and be involved in insulin resistance and immune function.

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