Mass Spectrometry and Affinity Based Methods for Analysis of Proteins and Proteomes

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Proteomics is a fast growing field and there has been a tremendous increase of knowledge the last two decades. Mass spectrometry is the most used method for analysis of complex protein samples. It can be used both in large scale discovery studies as well as in targeted quantitative studies. In parallel with the fast improvements of mass spectrometry-based proteomics there has been a fast growth of affinity-based methods. A common challenge is the large dynamic range of protein concentrations in biological samples. No method can today cover the whole dynamic range. If affinity and mass spectrometry-based proteomics could be used in better combination, this would be partly solved. The challenge for affinity-based proteomics is the poor specificity that has been seen for many of the commercially available antibodies. In mass spectrometry, the challenges are sensitivity and sample throughput. In this thesis, large scale approaches for validation of antibodies and other binders are presented. Protein microarrays were used in four validation studies and one was based on mass spectrometry. It is shown that protein microarrays can be valuable tools to check the specificity of antibodies produced in a large scale production. Mass spectrometry was shown to give similar results as Western blot and Immunohistochemistry regarding specificity, but did also provide useful information about which other proteins that were bound to the antibody.Mass spectrometry has many applications and in this thesis two methods contributing with new knowledge in animal proteomics are presented. A combination of high affinity depletion, SDS PAGE and mass spectrometry revealed 983 proteins in dog cerebrospinal fluid, of which 801 were marked as uncharacterized in UniProt. A targeted quantitative study of cat serum based on parallel reaction monitoring showed that mass spectrometry can be an applicable method instead of ELISA in animal proteomic studies. Mass spectrometry is a generic method and has the advantage of shorter and less expensive development costs for specific assays that are not hampered by cross-reactivity.Mass spectrometry supported by affinity based applications will be an attractive tool for further improvements in the proteomic field.