Proteomics is the study of proteins, especially studying the function and importance of proteins on a large-scale. In recent years the general term has increasingly been used to refer to the field of mass spectrometry proteomics, which uses mass spectrometry to identify, characterize, and quantify proteins in biological or synthetic samples.
Mass-spectrometry proteomics is fast becoming an essential and routine analytical tool for biological scientists. Modern instrumentation and data analysis software can identify and quantify hundreds or thousands of proteins from complex biological mixtures such as cell lysates or body fluids. The most common proteomic work flow begins by digesting proteins into peptides using an enzyme such as trypsin (bottom-up proteomics). The resulting peptides are eluted from an LC column into the mass-spectrometer, where their mass is measured, and they are fragmented to obtain sequence information. Software is used to assign mass spectra to peptide sequences, map these peptides onto protein sequence, and extract quantitative data where applicable.
How can Proteomics help my research?
MS proteomics can help answer research questions such as:
- What proteins are in this gel band?
- What proteins interact with my bait protein of interest?
- Does my cell treatment change protein expression patterns?
- Is my protein of interest phosphorylated?
What’s possible with MS proteomics?
For a simple introduction to proteomics, Proteome Software has a good education section on their website. If you’re more familiar with the field, and would like an overview of the state-of-the-art, the following review articles are reccommended:
Cox J, Mann M. Quantitative, high-resolution proteomics for data-driven
systems biology. Annu Rev Biochem. 2011 Jun 7;80:273-99. [PDF Link]
Beck M, Claassen M, Aebersold R. Comprehensive proteomics. Curr Opin
Biotechnol. 2011 Feb;22(1):3-8. [PDF Link]
Our core director has also published a book titled Modern Proteomics – Sample Preparation, Analysis and Practical Applications (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology). It can be ordered on Amazon.