Deep Coverage Proteomics Identifies More Low-Abundance Missing Proteins in Human Testis Tissue with Q-Exactive HF Mass Spectrometer

J Proteome Res. 2016 Nov 4;15(11):3988-3997. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00390. Epub 2016 Aug 29.


Since 2012, missing proteins (MPs) investigation has been one of the critical missions of Chromosome-Centric Human Proteome Project (C-HPP) through various biochemical strategies. On the basis of our previous testis MPs study, faster scanning and higher resolution mass-spectrometry-based proteomics might be conducive to MPs exploration, especially for low-abundance proteins. In this study, Q-Exactive HF (HF) was used to survey proteins from the same testis tissues separated by two separating methods (tricine- and glycine-SDS-PAGE), as previously described. A total of 8526 proteins were identified, of which more low-abundance proteins were uniquely detected in HF data but not in our previous LTQ Orbitrap Velos (Velos) reanalysis data. Further transcriptomics analysis showed that these uniquely identified proteins by HF also had lower expression at the mRNA level. Of the 81 total identified MPs, 74 and 39 proteins were listed as MPs in HF and Velos data sets, respectively. Among the above MPs, 47 proteins (43 neXtProt PE2 and 4 PE3) were ranked as confirmed MPs after verifying with the stringent spectra match and isobaric and single amino acid variants filtering. Functional investigation of these 47 MPs revealed that 11 MPs were testis-specific proteins and 7 MPs were involved in spermatogenesis process. Therefore, we concluded that higher scanning speed and resolution of HF might be factors for improving the low-abundance MP identification in future C-HPP studies. All mass-spectrometry data from this study have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD004092.

Keywords: Chromosome-Centric Human Proteome Project; LTQ Orbitrap Velos; Q-Exactive HF; missing proteins; testis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / standards
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / chemistry*


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger