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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2008 Oct;7(10):1963-73. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M800008-MCP200. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Enhanced detection of low abundance human plasma proteins using a tandem IgY12-SuperMix immunoaffinity separation strategy.

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Biological Sciences Division and Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, USA.


The enormous dynamic range of human bodily fluid proteomes poses a significant challenge for current MS-based proteomics technologies as it makes it especially difficult to detect low abundance proteins in human biofluids such as blood plasma, which is an essential aspect for successful biomarker discovery efforts. Here we present a novel tandem IgY12-SuperMix immunoaffinity separation system for enhanced detection of low abundance proteins in human plasma. The tandem IgY12-SuperMix system separates approximately 60 abundant proteins from the low abundance proteins in plasma, allowing for significant enrichment of low abundance plasma proteins in the SuperMix flow-through fraction. High reproducibility of the tandem separations was observed in terms of both sample processing recovery and LC-MS/MS identification results based on spectral count data. The ability to quantitatively measure differential protein abundances following application of the tandem separations was demonstrated by spiking six non-human standard proteins at three different levels into plasma. A side-by-side comparison between the SuperMix flow-through and IgY12 flow-through samples analyzed by both one- and two-dimensional LC-MS/MS revealed a 60-80% increase in proteome coverage as a result of the SuperMix separations, suggesting significantly enhanced detection of low abundance proteins. A total of 695 plasma proteins were confidently identified in a single analysis (with a minimum of two peptides per protein) by coupling the tandem separation strategy with two-dimensional LC-MS/MS, including 42 proteins with reported normal concentrations of approximately 100 pg/ml to 100 ng/ml. The concentrations of two selected proteins, macrophage colony-stimulating factor 1 and matrix metalloproteinase-8, were independently validated by ELISA as 202 pg/ml and 12.4 ng/ml, respectively. Evaluation of binding efficiency revealed that 45 medium abundance proteins were efficiently captured by the SuperMix column with >90% retention. Taken together, these results illustrate the potential broad utilities of this tandem IgY12-SuperMix strategy for proteomics applications involving human biofluids where effectively addressing the dynamic range challenge of the specimen is imperative.

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