Mining Missing Membrane Proteins by High-pH Reverse-Phase StageTip Fractionation and Multiple Reaction Monitoring Mass Spectrometry

J Proteome Res. 2015 Sep 4;14(9):3658-69. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00477. Epub 2015 Aug 6.


Despite significant efforts in the past decade toward complete mapping of the human proteome, 3564 proteins (neXtProt, 09-2014) are still "missing proteins". Over one-third of these missing proteins are annotated as membrane proteins, owing to their relatively challenging accessibility with standard shotgun proteomics. Using nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as a model study, we aim to mine missing proteins from disease-associated membrane proteome, which may be still largely under-represented. To increase identification coverage, we employed Hp-RP StageTip prefractionation of membrane-enriched samples from 11 NSCLC cell lines. Analysis of membrane samples from 20 pairs of tumor and adjacent normal lung tissue was incorporated to include physiologically expressed membrane proteins. Using multiple search engines (X!Tandem, Comet, and Mascot) and stringent evaluation of FDR (MAYU and PeptideShaker), we identified 7702 proteins (66% membrane proteins) and 178 missing proteins (74 membrane proteins) with PSM-, peptide-, and protein-level FDR of 1%. Through multiple reaction monitoring using synthetic peptides, we provided additional evidence of eight missing proteins including seven with transmembrane helix domains. This study demonstrates that mining missing proteins focused on cancer membrane subproteome can greatly contribute to map the whole human proteome. All data were deposited into ProteomeXchange with the identifier PXD002224.

Keywords: Hp-RP StageTip; MRM; lung cancer; membrane proteins; missing proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteome
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteome