zhong et al

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A Strategy for Increasing Analytical Throughput in Quantitative Proteomics

Zhong et al (2019) developed a novel strategy aimed towards solving challenges in absolute quantification, and detailed these efforts in a recent issue of Analytical Chemistry.

Absolute quantification is both an effective technique– which allows for robust results in proteomics research– and a challenging one. Problems that absolute quantification presents include low specificity in complex backgrounds, limited analytical throughput and wide dynamic range.

To solve these issues, Zhong et al (2019) developed hybrid offset-triggered multiplex absolute quantification (HOTMAQ), a strategy which increases the analytical throughput (the increase in analysis production rate) of targeted quantitative proteomics by up to 12 times. This technique accomplishes this by using mass-difference and isobaric tags to create an internal standard curve in the MS1 precursor scan, identify peptides at the MS2 level, and mass offset-trigger the quantification of target proteins in synchronous precursor selection at the MS3 level. All of this is accomplished at the same time. 

Because HOTMAQ results in greater quantitative performance, higher flexibility and quicker analysis rate, HOTMAQ is a strategy that can easily be applied to target peptidomics, proteomics, and phosphoproteomics.

Graphical Abstract, demonstrating the technique of hybrid offset-triggered multiplex absolute quantification (HOTMAQ).  "Zhong, X., Q. Yu, F. Ma, D.C. Frost, L. Lu, Z. Chen, H. Zetterberg, C. Carlsson, O. Okonkwo, and L. Li,
Hotmaq: A multiplexed absolute quantification method for targeted proteomics. Analytical Chemistry,
2019. 91(3): p. 2112-2119. PMCID: PMC6379083"

Identification of Alzheimer’s Biomarkers for Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease begins with a long, hard-to-discern and symptom-free phase which may be a key opportunity for early diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Zhong et al (2019) defined reliable and valid biomarkers that could identify the disease during this period, as published in a recent article in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

Alzhiemer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which is characterized by the progressive buildup of senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and loss of synapses and neurons in the brain. Behaviorally, this is presented as a progressive degeneration of overall function, such as difficulty with memory, mood instability and loss of motor function. Currently, there is no cure.

Using discover proteomics analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), Zhong et al found that in both healthy controls and in preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease patients, 732 proteins in women and 704 men proteins in men had more than one unique peptide. Then, Zhong et al found that 79 (women) and 98 (men) proteins were significantly altered in preclinical alzheimer’s patients who have already demonstrated some symptoms of mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Using N,N-dimethyl leucine (iDiLeu) tags, researchers verified the Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers called neurosecretory protein VGF and apolipoprotein E. Then, researchers used a four-point internal calibration curve to determine the “absolute amount” of target analytes in cerebrospinal fluid through a single liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry run.

Graphical abstract for Zhong et al (2019) depicting the difference between healthy control and preclinical Alzheimer's Disease biomarkers in label free and labeled quantification and peptide identification.

An Accurate Mass Defect-based labeling strategy for Quantitative Proteomics

Zhong et al (2019) wrote about their development of an accurate mass-defect based labelling strategy for MS1-centric quantification in a recent Analytical Chemistry paper

Specifically, researchers developed 5-plex mass defect N, N-dimethyl leucine (mdDiLeu) tags. These tags have multiple benefits; they can aid in the quantification of biological samples and have increased multiplexing due to the addition of mass difference isotopologues. Additionally, the synthesis of these cost effective tags is straightforward and only requires one reaction step, which can be done in any lab. Also, this mass defect-based labelling strategy is more accurate than isobaric label-based reporter ion quantification, as the latter is impacted by ratio compression.

In this paper, Zhong et al (2019) demonstrate the efficacy of 5-plex mdDiLeu tags for quantitative proteomics by conducting mass spectrometry experiments with these tags on labelled Saccharomyces cerevisiae lysate digest.

Graphical abstract for Zhong et al (2019) depicting the accurate mass-defect labelling strategy used.