Characterization of a digested protein complex with quantitative aspects: an approach based on accurate mass chromatographic analysis with Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry

Proteomics. 2004 Sep;4(9):2558-66. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200300812.


We describe a new approach for the characterization of a digested protein complex with quantitative aspects. Accurate masses of tryptic peptides in the digested complex were acquired by nano-liquid chromatography Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (MS). The conditions of the electrospray ion source were alternated to acquire normal and fragment-ion-rich mass spectra concurrently. This, alternating-scan method, which includes no tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), allowed us to retain the integrity of the mass chromatograms and averted missed peptides due to MS and MS/MS switching. Tentative assignments of accurate peptide masses were verified with the concurrently acquired fragment-ion-rich spectra, and the identities of the protein components were established. For each identified protein component, mass chromatograms attributable to the validated accurate peptide masses were extracted, and the peak areas of multiple mass chromatograms were standardized. The standardized peak areas appeared to reasonably reflect the molar ratio of the protein components in standard mixtures. This new approach was successfully applied to the characterization of a cyanobacterial photosystem II complex preparation. A clear difference in the standardized peak areas was observed between the two groups of identified components, namely eight stoichiometric photosystem II proteins and two minor copurified phycobiliproteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, Liquid* / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, Liquid* / methods
  • Cyanobacteria / chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry* / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry* / methods
  • Peptide Fragments / analysis*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / chemistry
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared* / instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared* / methods


  • Peptide Fragments
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Proteins