Improved Identification and Analysis of Small Open Reading Frame Encoded Polypeptides

Anal Chem. 2016 Apr 5;88(7):3967-75. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b00191. Epub 2016 Mar 24.


Computational, genomic, and proteomic approaches have been used to discover nonannotated protein-coding small open reading frames (smORFs). Some novel smORFs have crucial biological roles in cells and organisms, which motivates the search for additional smORFs. Proteomic smORF discovery methods are advantageous because they detect smORF-encoded polypeptides (SEPs) to validate smORF translation and SEP stability. Because SEPs are shorter and less abundant than average proteins, SEP detection using proteomics faces unique challenges. Here, we optimize several steps in the SEP discovery workflow to improve SEP isolation and identification. These changes have led to the detection of several new human SEPs (novel human genes), improved confidence in the SEP assignments, and enabled quantification of SEPs under different cellular conditions. These improvements will allow faster detection and characterization of new SEPs and smORFs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics*
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / isolation & purification
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Peptides