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J Proteome Res. 2004 May-Jun;3(3):350-63.

Quantification in proteomics through stable isotope coding: a review.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


This review focuses on techniques for quantification and identification in proteomics by stable isotope coding. Methods are examined for analyzing expression, post-translational modifications, protein:protein interactions, single amino acid polymorphism, and absolute quantification. The bulk of the quantification literature in proteomics focuses on expression analysis, where a wide variety of methods targeting different features of proteins are described. Methods for the analysis of post-translational modification (PTM) focus primarily on phosphorylation and glycosylation, where quantification is achieved in two ways, either by substitution or tagging of the PTM with an isotopically coded derivatizing agent in a single process or by coding and selecting PTM modified peptides in separate operations. Absolute quantification has been achieved by age-old internal standard methods, in which an isotopically labeled isoform of an analyte is synthesized and added to a mixture at a known concentration. One of the surprises is that isotope coding can be a valuable aid in the examination of intermolecular association of proteins through stimulus:response studies. Preliminary efforts to recognize single amino acid polymorphism are also described. The review ends with the conclusion that (1) isotope ratio analysis of protein concentration between samples does not necessarily relate directly to protein expression and rate of PTM and (2) that multiple new methods must be developed and applied simultaneously to make existing stable isotope quantification methods more meaningful. Although stable isotope coding is a powerful, wonderful new technique, multiple analytical issues must be solved for the technique to reach its full potential as a tool to study biological systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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