ICP-MS for multiplex absolute determinations of proteins

Sanz-Medel, Alfredo
November 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Nov2010, Vol. 398 Issue 5, p1853
Academic Journal
In the last few years MS-based proteomics has been turning quantitative because only the quantity of existing proteins or changes of their abundance in a studied sample reflect the actual status and the extent of possible changes in a given biological system. So far, however, only relative quantifications are common place. Recently, the ideal analytical features of ICP-MS that allow robust, accurate and precise absolute determinations of heteroelements (present in proteins and their peptides) have opened the door to its use, as a complementary ion source of MALDI- and/or ESI-(MS), in achieving the 'absolute' quantification of a protein. Unfortunately, so far such 'heteroatom-tagged proteomics' applications deal with only single-heteroatom measurements. Thus, the outstanding capability of ICP-MS for multi-element (-isotope) simultaneous determinations is somewhat wasted. On the other hand, multiplexed determinations of proteins (e.g. in common or new multiplexed formats) today constitute a pressing need in medical science (e.g. to determine accurately many biomarkers at a time). This is a clear trend in analytical science where ICP-MS could eventually play an important role. Therefore, reported approaches to multiplex protein determinations using ICP-MS, with liquid sample nebulisation and with laser direct sampling from a solid, are discussed here. Apart from such multiplex bioassays for absolute protein determinations, efforts to simultaneously quantitate enzyme activities are also discussed. It appears that the time is ripe to combine the multi-isotopic character of ICP-MS with well-known multi-analyte separation techniques (e.g. HPLC or multiplex immunoassays) to tackle the challenge of analysing abundances and activities of several proteins and enzymes, respectively, in a single assay. Many attractive opportunities for creative work and interdisciplinary developments for analytical atomic spectroscopists seem to lie ahead related to multiplexed quantitative targeted proteomics via ICP-MS. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]


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