Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) - also known as multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) - has emerged as a promising high-throughput targeted protein quantification technology for candidate biomarker verification and systems biology applications. A major bottleneck for current SRM technology, however, is insufficient sensitivity for, e.g. detecting low-abundance biomarkers likely present at the low ng/mL to pg/mL range in human blood plasma or serum, or extremely low-abundance signaling proteins in cells or tissues. Herein, we review recent advances in methods and technologies, including front-end immunoaffinity depletion, fractionation, selective enrichment of target proteins/peptides including posttranslational modifications, as well as advances in MS instrumentation which have significantly enhanced the overall sensitivity of SRM assays and enabled the detection of low-abundance proteins at low- to sub-ng/mL level in human blood plasma or serum. General perspectives on the potential of achieving sufficient sensitivity for detection of pg/mL level proteins in plasma are also discussed.
© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.