Precision proteomics: the case for high resolution and high mass accuracy

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 25;105(47):18132-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800788105. Epub 2008 Sep 25.


Proteomics has progressed radically in the last 5 years and is now on par with most genomic technologies in throughput and comprehensiveness. Analyzing peptide mixtures by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has emerged as the main technology for in-depth proteome analysis whereas two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, low-resolution MALDI, and protein arrays are playing niche roles. MS-based proteomics is rapidly becoming quantitative through both label-free and stable isotope labeling technologies. The latest generation of mass spectrometers combines extremely high resolving power, mass accuracy, and very high sequencing speed in routine proteomic applications. Peptide fragmentation is mostly performed in low-resolution but very sensitive and fast linear ion traps. However, alternative fragmentation methods and high-resolution fragment analysis are becoming much more practical. Recent advances in computational proteomics are removing the data analysis bottleneck. Thus, in a few specialized laboratories, "precision proteomics" can now identify and quantify almost all fragmented peptide peaks. Huge challenges and opportunities remain in technology development for proteomics; thus, this is not "the beginning of the end" but surely "the end of the beginning."

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / standards
  • Proteomics*
  • Reproducibility of Results