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Proteomics. 2011 Aug;11(15):3143-53. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201100049. Epub 2011 Jul 4.

Proteomics for routine identification of microorganisms.

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AnagnosTec GmbH, AM Mühlenberg, Potsdam, Germany.


The invention of MALDI-TOF-MS enormously contributed to the understanding of protein chemistry and cell biology. Without this technique proteomics would most likely not be the important discipline it is today. Besides 'true' proteomics, MALDI-TOF-MS was applied for the analysis of microorganisms for their taxonomic characterization from its beginning. This approach has since been developed as a diagnostic tool readily available for routine, high-throughput analysis of microbial isolates from clinical specimens by intact-cell mass spectrometry (ICMS), the direct analysis of whole bacterial cell without a preceding fractionation or separation by chromatography or electrophoresis. ICMS exploits the reproducibility of mass fingerprints for individual bacterial and fungal strains as well as the high similarity of mass fingerprints within a species. Comparison of mass spectral data to genomic sequences emphasized the validity of peak patterns as taxonomic markers. Supported by comprehensive databases, MALDI-TOF-MS-based identification has been widely accepted in clinical laboratories within only a few years.

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