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Expert Rev Proteomics. 2007 Apr;4(2):175-86.

Coupling immunoaffinity techniques with MS for quantitative analysis of low-abundance protein biomarkers.

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Eli Lilly & Company, Drug Disposition, Greenfield Laboratories, Greenfield, IN 46140, USA.


The field of proteomics is rapidly turning towards targeted mass spectrometry (MS) methods to quantify putative markers or known proteins of biological interest. Historically, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has been used for targeted protein analysis, but, unfortunately, it is limited by the excessive time required for antibody preparation, as well as concerns over selectivity. Despite the ability of proteomics to deliver increasingly quantitative measurements, owing to limited sensitivity, the leads generated are in the microgram per milliliter range. This stands in stark contrast to ELISA, which is capable of quantifying proteins at low picogram per milliliter levels. To bridge this gap, targeted liquid chromatography (LC) tandem MS (MS/MS) analysis of tryptic peptide surrogates using selected reaction monitoring detection has emerged as a viable option for rapid quantification of target proteins. The precision of this approach has been enhanced by the use of stable isotope-labeled peptide internal standards to compensate for variation in recovery and the influence of differential matrix effects. Unfortunately, the complexity of proteinaceous matrices, such as plasma, limits the usefulness of this approach to quantification in the mid-nanogram per milliliter range (medium-abundance proteins). This article reviews the current status of LC/MS/MS using selected reaction monitoring for protein quantification, and specifically considers the use of a single antibody to achieve superior enrichment of either the protein target or the released tryptic peptide. Examples of immunoaffinity-assisted LC/MS/MS are reviewed that demonstrate quantitative analysis of low-abundance proteins (subnanogram per milliliter range). A strategy based on this technology is proposed for the expedited evaluation of novel protein biomarkers, which relies on the synergy created from the complementary nature of MS and ELISA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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