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Expert Rev Proteomics. 2006 Dec;3(6):653-64.

Contribution of mass spectrometry-based proteomics to immunology.

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University of Tübingen, Department of Immunology, Institute for Cell Biology, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Antigen processing forwards various information about the cellular status and the proteome to the cell surface for scrutiny by the cellular immune system. Thus the repertoire of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-bound peptides and the MHC ligandome, indirectly mirrors the proteome in order to make alterations instantly detectable and, if necessary, to oppose them. Mass spectrometry is the core technology for analysis of both proteome and MHC ligandome and has evoked several strategies to gain qualitative and quantitative insight into the MHC-presented peptide repertoire. After immunoaffinity purification of detergent-solubilized peptide-MHC complexes followed by acid elution of peptides, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry is applied to determine individual peptide sequences and, thus, allow qualitative characterization of the MHC-bound repertoire. Differential quantification based on stable isotope labeling enables the relative comparison of two samples, such as diseased and healthy tissue. Targeted searches for certain natural ligands, such as the 'predict-calibrate-detect' strategy, include motif-based epitope prediction and calibration with reference peptides. Thus, various approaches are now available for exposing and understanding the intricacies of the MHC ligand repertoire. Analysis of differences in the MHC ligandome under distinct conditions contributes to our understanding of basic cellular processes, but also enables the formulation of immunodiagnostic or immunotherapeutic strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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