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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Aug;11(8):527-39. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.015230. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Label-free quantification and shotgun analysis of complex proteomes by one-dimensional SDS-PAGE/NanoLC-MS: evaluation for the large scale analysis of inflammatory human endothelial cells.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, F-31077 Toulouse, France.


To perform differential studies of complex protein mixtures, strategies for reproducible and accurate quantification are needed. Here, we evaluated a quantitative proteomic workflow based on nanoLC-MS/MS analysis on an LTQ-Orbitrap-VELOS mass spectrometer and label-free quantification using the MFPaQ software. In such label-free quantitative studies, a compromise has to be found between two requirements: repeatability of sample processing and MS measurements, allowing an accurate quantification, and high proteomic coverage of the sample, allowing quantification of minor species. The latter is generally achieved through sample fractionation, which may induce experimental bias during the label-free comparison of samples processed, and analyzed independently. In this work, we wanted to evaluate the performances of MS intensity-based label-free quantification when a complex protein sample is fractionated by one-dimensional SDS-PAGE. We first tested the efficiency of the analysis without protein fractionation and could achieve quite good quantitative repeatability in single-run analysis (median coefficient of variation of 5%, 99% proteins with coefficient of variation <48%). We show that sample fractionation by one-dimensional SDS-PAGE is associated with a moderate decrease of quantitative measurement repeatability while largely improving the depth of proteomic coverage. We then applied the method for a large scale proteomic study of the human endothelial cell response to inflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα, interferon γ, and IL1β, which allowed us to finely decipher at the proteomic level the biological pathways involved in endothelial cell response to proinflammatory cytokines.

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