Long-gradient separations coupled with selected reaction monitoring for highly sensitive, large scale targeted protein quantification in a single analysis.

Long-gradient separations coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS) were recently demonstrated to provide a deep proteome coverage for global proteomics; however, such long-gradient separations have not been explored for targeted proteomics. Herein, we investigate the potential performance of the long-gradient separations coupled with selected reaction monitoring (LG-SRM) for targeted protein quantification. Direct comparison of LG-SRM (5 h gradient) and conventional liquid chromatography (LC)-SRM (45 min gradient) showed that the long-gradient separations significantly reduced background interference levels and provided an 8- to 100-fold improvement in limit of quantification (LOQ) for target proteins in human female serum. On the basis of at least one surrogate peptide per protein, an LOQ of 10 ng/mL was achieved for the two spiked proteins in nondepleted human serum. The LG-SRM detection of seven out of eight endogenous plasma proteins expressed at ng/mL or subng/mL levels in clinical patient sera was also demonstrated. A correlation coefficient of >0.99 was observed for the results of LG-SRM and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) measurements for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in selected patient sera. Further enhancement of LG-SRM sensitivity was achieved by applying front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion. Besides improved sensitivity, LG-SRM potentially offers much higher multiplexing capacity than conventional LC-SRM due to an increase in average peak widths (~3-fold) for a 300 min gradient compared to a 45 min gradient. Therefore, LG-SRM holds great potential for bridging the gap between global and targeted proteomics due to its advantages in both sensitivity and multiplexing capacity.

Camp DG, Chambers JL, Fillmore TL, Gao Y, He J, Kagan J, Liu AY, Liu T, Moore RJ, Nicora CD, Qian WJ, Rodland KD, Schepmoes AA, Shi T, Smith RD, Srivastava S, Wu C, Zhao R


Anal. Chem., 2013, 85 (19)

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