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J Proteomics. 2009 Jul 21;72(5):740-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2009.03.007. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Isotope dilution strategies for absolute quantitative proteomics.

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CEA, DSV, iRTSV, Laboratoire d'Etude de la Dynamique des Protéomes, Grenoble, F-38054, France.


The development of mass spectrometry (MS)-based methodologies for high-throughput protein identification has generated a concomitant need for protein quantification. Numerous MS-based relative quantification methodologies have been dedicated to the extensive comparison of multiple proteomes. On the other hand, absolute quantification methodologies, which allow the determination of protein concentrations in biological samples, are generally restricted to defined sets of proteins. Depending on the selected analytical procedure, absolute quantification approaches can provide accurate and precise estimations. These analytical performances are crucial for specific applications such as the evaluation of clinical biomarker candidates. According to bioanalytical guidelines, accurate analytical processes require internal standards and quality controls. Regarding MS-based analysis of small molecules, isotope dilution has been recognized as the reference method for internal standardization. However, protein quantification methodologies which rely on the isotope dilution principle have been implemented in the proteomic field only recently. In these approaches, the sample is spiked with defined amounts of isotope-labeled analogue(s) of specific proteolytic peptide(s) (AQUA and QconCAT strategies) or protein(s) (PSAQ strategy). In this review, we present a critical overview of these isotope dilution methodologies.

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