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J Proteome Res. 2003 Sep-Oct;2(5):495-505.

"Top Down" characterization is a complementary technique to peptide sequencing for identifying protein species in complex mixtures.

Author information

1
Wyeth BioPharma, Andover, Massachusetts, USA. jcawley@exsar.com

Abstract

At present, mass spectrometry provides a rapid and sensitive means for making conclusive protein identifications from complex mixtures. Sequencing tryptic peptides derived from proteolyzed protein samples, also known as the "Bottom Up" approach, is the mass spectrometric gold standard for identifying unknowns. An alternative technology, "Top Down" characterization, is emerging as a viable option for protein identifications, which involves analyzing the intact unknowns for accurate mass and amino acid sequence tags. In this paper, both characterization methods were employed to more comprehensively differentiate two early-eluting peaks in a process-scale size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) step for a recombinant, immunoglobulin gamma-1 (IgG-1) fusion protein. The contents of each SEC peak were enzymatically digested, and the resulting peptides were mapped using reversed-phase (RP) HPLC-ion trap MS. Many low-level UV signals were observed among the fusion protein-related peptide peaks. These unknowns were collected, concentrated, and analyzed using nanoelectrospray (nanoES) collision-induced dissociation (CID) tandem (MS/MS) mass spectrometry for identification. The peptide sequencing experiments resulted in the identification of twenty host cell-related proteins. Following peptide mapping, the contents of the two SEC peaks were protein mass profiled using on-line RP HPLC coupled to a high-resolution, quadrupole time-of-flight (Qq/TOF) MS. Unknown proteins were also collected, concentrated, and dissociated using nanoES CID MS/MS. Intact protein CID experiments and accurate molecular weight information allowed for the identification of three full length host cell-derived proteins and numerous clips from these and additional proteins. The accurate molecular weight values allowed for the assignment of N- and C-terminal processing, which is difficult to conclusively access from peptide mapping data. The peptide-mapping experiments proved to be far more effective for making protein identifications from complex mixtures, whereas the protein mass profiling was useful for assessing modifications and distinguishing protein clips from full length species.

PMID:
14582646
DOI:
10.1021/pr034008u
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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