Proteome analyses using accurate mass and elution time peptide tags with capillary LC time-of-flight mass spectrometry.


We describe the application of capillary liquid chromatography (LC) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometric instrumentation for the rapid characterization of microbial proteomes. Previously (Lipton et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2002, 99, 11049) the peptides from a series of growth conditions of Deinococcus radiodurans have been characterized using capillary LC MS/MS and accurate mass measurements which are captured as an accurate mass and time (AMT) tag database. Using this AMT tag database, detected peptides can be assigned using measurements obtained on a TOF due to the additional use of elution time data as a constraint. When peptide matches are obtained using AMT tags (i.e., using both constraints) unique matches of a mass spectral peak occurs 88% of the time. Not only are AMT tag matches unique in most cases, the coverage of the proteome is high; approximately 3500 unique peptide AMT tags are found on average per capillary LC run. From the results of the AMT tag database search, approximately 900 ORFs detected using LC-TOFMS, with approximately 500 ORFs covered by at least two AMT tags. These results indicate that AMT database searches with modest mass and elution time criteria can provide proteomic information for approximately one thousand proteins in a single run of <3 h. The advantage of this method over using MS/MS based techniques is the large number of identifications that occur in a single experiment as well as the basis for improved quantitation. For MS/MS experiments, the number of peptide identifications is severely restricted because of the time required to dissociate the peptides individually. These results demonstrate the utility of the AMT tag approach using capillary LC-TOF MS instruments, and also show that AMT tags developed using other instrumentation can be effectively utilized.