Differential detergent fractionation (DDF) is frequently used to partition fresh cells and tissues into distinct compartments. We have tested whether DDF can reproducibly extract and fractionate cellular protein components from frozen tissues. Frozen kidneys were sequentially extracted with three different buffer systems. Analysis of the three fractions with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) identified 1693 proteins, some of which were common to all fractions and others of which were unique to specific fractions. Normalized spectral index (SI(N)) values obtained from these data were compared to evaluate both the reproducibility of the method and the efficiency of enrichment. SI(N) values between replicate fractions demonstrated a high correlation, confirming the reproducibility of the method. Correlation coefficients across the three fractions were significantly lower than those for the replicates, supporting the capability of DDF to differentially fractionate proteins into separate compartments. Subcellular annotation of the proteins identified in each fraction demonstrated a significant enrichment of cytoplasmic, cell membrane, and nuclear proteins in the three respective buffer system fractions. We conclude that DDF can be applied to frozen tissue to generate reproducible proteome coverage discriminating subcellular compartments. This demonstrates the feasibility of analyzing cellular compartment-specific proteins in archived tissue samples with the simple DDF method.
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