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Proteomics. 2005 May;5(8):2029-42.

Proteome analysis of Escherichia coli using high-performance liquid chromatography and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.

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Biotechnological-Biomedical Center, Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, University of Leipzig, Germany.


The basic problem of complexity poses a significant challenge for proteomic studies. To date two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) followed by enzymatic in-gel digestion of the peptides, and subsequent identification by mass spectrometry (MS) is the most commonly used method to analyze complex protein mixtures. However, 2-DE is a slow and labor-intensive technique, which is not able to resolve all proteins of a proteome. To overcome these limitations gel-free approaches are developed based on high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS). The high resolution and excellent mass accuracy of FT-ICR MS provides a basis for simultaneous analysis of numerous compounds. In the present study, a small protein subfraction of an Escherichia coli cell lysate was prepared by size-exclusion chromatography and proteins were analyzed using C4 reversed phase (RP)-HPLC for pre-separation followed by C18 RP nanoHPLC/nanoESI FT-ICR MS for analysis of the peptide mixtures after tryptic digestion of the protein fractions. We identified 231 proteins and thus demonstrated that a combination of two RP separation steps - one on the protein and one on the peptide level - in combination with high-resolution FT-ICR MS has the potential to become a powerful method for global proteomics studies.

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