A method for quantitating proteins and peptides in the low picomole and sub-picomole range has been developed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) with internal (18)O-labeled standards. A simple procedure is proposed to produce such internal standards for the tested sample by enzymatic hydrolysis of the same sample (with known concentration) in (18)O-water. A mathematical algorithm was developed which uses the isotopic patterns of the substance, the internal standard, and the substance/internal standard mixture for accurate quantitation of the substance. A great advantages of the proposed method is the absence of molecular weight limitation for the protein quantitation and the possibility of quantitation without previous fractionation of proteins and peptides. Using this strategy, the peptide angiotensinogen and two proteins, RNase and its protein inhibitor, were quantified by MALDI-time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.