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Proteomics. 2012 Apr;12(8):1185-93. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201100543.

Range of protein detection by selected/multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry in an unfractionated human cell culture lysate.

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Department of Biology, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


Selected or multiple reaction monitoring is a targeted mass spectrometry method (S/MRM-MS), in which many peptides are simultaneously and consistently analyzed during a single liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-S/MRM-MS) measurement. These capabilities make S/MRM-MS an attractive method to monitor a consistent set of proteins over various experimental conditions. To increase throughput for S/MRM-MS it is advantageous to use scheduled methods and unfractionated protein extracts. Here, we established the practically measurable dynamic range of proteins reliably detectable and quantifiable in an unfractionated protein extract from a human cell line using LC-S/MRM-MS. Initially, we analyzed S/MRM transition peak groups in terms of interfering signals and compared S/MRM transition peak groups to MS1-triggered MS2 spectra using dot-product analysis. Finally, using unfractionated protein extract from human cell lysate, we quantified the upper boundary of copies per cell to be 35 million copies per cell, while 7500 copies per cell represents a lower boundary using a single 35 min linear gradient LC-S/MRM-MS measurement on a current, standard commercial instrument.

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