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Proteomics. 2005 Aug;5(13):3423-41.

Comparison of alternative analytical techniques for the characterisation of the human serum proteome in HUPO Plasma Proteome Project.

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Department of Genomics and Proteomics, Beijing Institute of Radiation Medicine, Beijing, China.


Based on the same HUPO reference specimen (C1-serum) with the six proteins of highest abundance depleted by immunoaffinity chromatography, we have compared five proteomics approaches, which were (1) intact protein fractionation by anion-exchange chromatography followed by 2-DE-MALDI-TOF-MS/MS for protein identification (2-DE strategy); (2) intact protein fractionation by 2-D HPLC followed by tryptic digestion of each fraction and microcapillary RP-HPLC/microESI-MS/MS identification (protein 2-D HPLC fractionation strategy); (3) protein digestion followed by automated online microcapillary 2-D HPLC (strong cation-exchange chromatography (SCX)-RPC) with IT microESI-MS/MS; (online shotgun strategy); (4) same as (3) with the SCX step performed offline (offline shotgun strategy) and (5) same as (4) with the SCX fractions reanalysed by optimised nanoRP-HPLC-nanoESI-MS/MS (offline shotgun-nanospray strategy). All five approaches yielded complementary sets of protein identifications. The total number of unique proteins identified by each of these five approaches was (1) 78, (2) 179, (3) 131, (4) 224 and (5) 330 respectively. In all, 560 unique proteins were identified. One hundred and sixty-five proteins were identified through two or more peptides, which could be considered a high-confidence identification. Only 37 proteins were identified by all five approaches. The 2-DE approach yielded more information on the pI-altered isoforms of some serum proteins and the relative abundance of identified proteins. The protein prefractionation strategy slightly improved the capacity to detect proteins of lower abundance. Optimising the separation at the peptide level and improving the detection sensitivity of ESI-MS/MS were more effective than fractionation of intact proteins in increasing the total number of proteins identified. Overall, electrophoresis and chromatography, coupled respectively with MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS and ESI-MS/MS, identified complementary sets of serum proteins.

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