Standardization approaches in absolute quantitative proteomics with mass spectrometry

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Jul 31, 2017
  • Author: Francisco Calderón‐Celis, Jorge Ruiz Encinar, Alfredo Sanz‐Medel
  • Journal: Mass Spectrometry Reviews

Mass spectrometry‐based approaches have enabled important breakthroughs in quantitative proteomics in the last decades. This development is reflected in the better quantitative assessment of protein levels as well as to understand post‐translational modifications and protein complexes and networks. Nowadays, the focus of quantitative proteomics shifted from the relative determination of proteins (ie, differential expression between two or more cellular states) to absolute quantity determination, required for a more‐thorough characterization of biological models and comprehension of the proteome dynamism, as well as for the search and validation of novel protein biomarkers. However, the physico‐chemical environment of the analyte species affects strongly the ionization efficiency in most mass spectrometry (MS) types, which thereby require the use of specially designed standardization approaches to provide absolute quantifications. Most common of such approaches nowadays include (i) the use of stable isotope‐labeled peptide standards, isotopologues to the target proteotypic peptides expected after tryptic digestion of the target protein; (ii) use of stable isotope‐labeled protein standards to compensate for sample preparation, sample loss, and proteolysis steps; (iii) isobaric reagents, which after fragmentation in the MS/MS analysis provide a final detectable mass shift, can be used to tag both analyte and standard samples; (iv) label‐free approaches in which the absolute quantitative data are not obtained through the use of any kind of labeling, but from computational normalization of the raw data and adequate standards; (v) elemental mass spectrometry‐based workflows able to provide directly absolute quantification of peptides/proteins that contain an ICP‐detectable element. A critical insight from the Analytical Chemistry perspective of the different standardization approaches and their combinations used so far for absolute quantitative MS‐based (molecular and elemental) proteomics is provided in this review.

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