High-performance hybrid Orbitrap mass spectrometers for quantitative proteome analysis: Observations and implications

Proteomics. 2016 Mar;16(6):907-14. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201400545. Epub 2016 Mar 1.


We present basic workups and quantitative comparisons for two current generation Orbitrap mass spectrometers, the Q Exactive Plus and Orbitrap Fusion Tribrid, which are widely considered two of the highest performing instruments on the market. We assessed the performance of two quantitative methods on both instruments, namely label-free quantitation and stable isotope labeling using isobaric tags, for studying the heat shock response in Escherichia coli. We investigated the recently reported MS3 method on the Fusion instrument and the potential of MS3-based reporter ion isolation Synchronous Precursor Selection (SPS) and its impact on quantitative accuracy. We confirm that the label-free approach offers a more linear response with a wider dynamic range than MS/MS-based isobaric tag quantitation and that the MS3/SPS approach alleviates but does not eliminate dynamic range compression. We observed, however, that the choice of quantitative approach had little impact on the ability to statistically evaluate the E. coli heat shock response. We conclude that in the experimental conditions tested, MS/MS-based reporter ion quantitation provides reliable biological insight despite the issue of compressed dynamic range, an observation that significantly impacts the choice of instrument.

Keywords: Instrument optimization; Mass spectrometry instrumentation; Orbitrap fusion; Q Exactive Plus; Quantitation; Technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / analysis
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / chemistry*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Proteome