Peptide labeling with isobaric tags yields higher identification rates using iTRAQ 4-plex compared to TMT 6-plex and iTRAQ 8-plex on LTQ Orbitrap.
ABSTRACT: Peptide labeling with isobaric tags has become a popular technique in quantitative shotgun proteomics. Using two different samples viz. a protein mixture and HeLa extracts, we show that three commercially available isobaric tags differ with regard to peptide identification rates: The number of identified proteins and peptides was largest with iTRAQ 4-plex, followed by TMT 6-plex, and smallest with iTRAQ 8-plex. In all experiments, we employed a previously described method where two scans were acquired for each precursor on an LTQ Orbitrap: A CID scan under standard settings for identification, and a HCD scan for quantification. The observed differences in identification rates were similar when data was searched with either Mascot or Sequest. We consider these findings to be the result of a combination of several factors, most notably prominent ions in CID spectra as a consequence of loss of fragments of the label tag from precursor ions. These fragment ions cannot be explained by current search engines and were observed to have a negative impact on peptide scores.
Project description:Methods for isobaric tagging of peptides, iTRAQ or TMT, are commonly used platforms in mass spectrometry based quantitative proteomics. These two methods are very often used to quantitate proteins in complex samples, e.g., serum/plasma or CSF supporting biomarker discovery studies. The success of these studies depends on multiple factors, including the accuracy of ratios of reporter ions reflecting quantitative changes of proteins. Because reporter ions are generated during peptide fragmentation, the differences of chemical structure of iTRAQ balance groups may have an effect on how efficiently these groups are fragmented and thus how differences in protein expression will be measured. Because 4-plex and 8-plex iTRAQ reagents do have different structures of balanced groups, it has been postulated that indeed differences in protein identification and quantitation exist between these two reagents. In this study we controlled the ratios of tagged samples and compared quantitation of proteins using 4-plex versus 8-plex reagents in the context of a highly complex sample of human plasma using ABSciex 4800 MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometer and ProteinPilot 4.0 software. We observed that 8-plex tagging provides more consistent ratios than 4-plex without compromising protein identification, thus allowing investigation of eight experimental conditions in one analytical experiment.
Project description:Isobaric tags enable multiplexed quantitative analysis of many biological samples in a single LC-MS/MS experiment. As a cost-effective alternative to expensive commercial isobaric tagging reagents, we developed our own custom N,N-dimethylleucine "DiLeu" isobaric tags for quantitative proteomics. Here, we present a new generation of DiLeu tags that achieves 21-plex quantification in high-resolution HCD MS/MS spectra via distinct reporter ions that differ in mass from each other by a minimum of 3 mDa. The 21-plex set retains the compact tag structure and existing isotopologues of the 12-plex set but includes nine new reporter variants formulated with unique configurations of 13C, 15N, and 2H stable isotopes, each synthesized in-house via a stepwise N-monomethylation synthesis strategy using readily available reagents. Thus, multiplexing capacity is expanded significantly, while preserving the performance and low cost of the previous implementation. We show that 21-plex DiLeu tags generate strong reporter ions following HCD fragmentation of labeled peptides acquired on Orbitrap platforms at a minimum of 60,000 resolving power (at 400 m/z), and we demonstrate accurate 21-plex quantification of labeled K562 human cell line protein digests via single-shot nanoLC-MS/MS analysis on a Q Exactive HF system.
Project description:Multiplex isobaric tags (e.g., tandem mass tags (TMT) and isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ)) are a valuable tool for high-throughput mass spectrometry based quantitative proteomics. We have developed our own multiplex isobaric tags, DiLeu, that feature quantitative performance on par with commercial offerings but can be readily synthesized in-house as a cost-effective alternative. In this work, we achieve a 3-fold increase in the multiplexing capacity of the DiLeu reagent without increasing structural complexity by exploiting mass defects that arise from selective incorporation of (13)C, (15)N, and (2)H stable isotopes in the reporter group. The inclusion of eight new reporter isotopologues that differ in mass from the existing four reporters by intervals of 6 mDa yields a 12-plex isobaric set that preserves the synthetic simplicity and quantitative performance of the original implementation. We show that the new reporter variants can be baseline-resolved in high-resolution higher-energy C-trap dissociation (HCD) spectra, and we demonstrate accurate 12-plex quantitation of a DiLeu-labeled Saccharomyces cerevisiae lysate digest via high-resolution nano liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-MS(2)) analysis on an Orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer.
Project description:iTRAQ (isobaric tags for relative or absolute quantitation) is a mass spectrometry technology that allows quantitative comparison of protein abundance by measuring peak intensities of reporter ions released from iTRAQ-tagged peptides by fragmentation during MS/MS. However, current data analysis techniques for iTRAQ struggle to report reliable relative protein abundance estimates and suffer with problems of precision and accuracy. The precision of the data is affected by variance heterogeneity: low signal data have higher relative variability; however, low abundance peptides dominate data sets. Accuracy is compromised as ratios are compressed toward 1, leading to underestimation of the ratio. This study investigated both issues and proposed a methodology that combines the peptide measurements to give a robust protein estimate even when the data for the protein are sparse or at low intensity. Our data indicated that ratio compression arises from contamination during precursor ion selection, which occurs at a consistent proportion within an experiment and thus results in a linear relationship between expected and observed ratios. We proposed that a correction factor can be calculated from spiked proteins at known ratios. Then we demonstrated that variance heterogeneity is present in iTRAQ data sets irrespective of the analytical packages, LC-MS/MS instrumentation, and iTRAQ labeling kit (4-plex or 8-plex) used. We proposed using an additive-multiplicative error model for peak intensities in MS/MS quantitation and demonstrated that a variance-stabilizing normalization is able to address the error structure and stabilize the variance across the entire intensity range. The resulting uniform variance structure simplifies the downstream analysis. Heterogeneity of variance consistent with an additive-multiplicative model has been reported in other MS-based quantitation including fields outside of proteomics; consequently the variance-stabilizing normalization methodology has the potential to increase the capabilities of MS in quantitation across diverse areas of biology and chemistry.
Project description:Isobaric stable isotope tagging reagents such as tandem mass tags or isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification enable multiplexed quantification of peptides via reporter ion signals in the low mass range of tandem mass spectra. Until recently, the poor recovery of low mass fragments observed in tandem mass spectra acquired on ion trap mass spectrometers precluded the use of these reagents on this widely available instrument platform. The Pulsed Q Dissociation (PQD) technique allows negotiating this limitation but suffers from poor fragmentation efficiency, which has raised doubts in the community as to its practical utility. Here we show that by carefully optimizing instrument parameters such as collision energy, activation Q, delay time, ion isolation width, number of microscans, and number of trapped ions, low m/z fragment ion intensities can be generated that enable accurate peptide quantification at the 100 amol level. Side by side comparison of PQD on an LTQ Orbitrap with CID on a five-year old Q-Tof Ultima using complex protein digests shows that whereas precision of quantification of 10-15% can be achieved by both approaches, PQD quantifies twice as many proteins. PQD on an LTQ Orbitrap also outperforms "higher energy collision induced dissociation" on the same instrument using the recently introduced octapole collision cell in terms of lower limit of quantification. Finally, we demonstrate the significant analytical potential of iTRAQ quantification using PQD on an LTQ Orbitrap by quantitatively measuring the kinase interaction profile of the small molecule drug imatinib in K-562 cells. This article gives practical guidance for the implementation of PQD, discusses its merits, and for the first time, compares its performance to higher energy collision-induced dissociation.
Project description:While developing a multiplexed phosphotyrosine peptide quantification assay, an unexpected observation was made: significant neutral loss from phosphotyrosine (pY) containing peptides. Using a 2000-member peptide library, we sought to systematically investigate this observation by comparing unlabeled peptides with the two highest-plex isobaric tags (iTRAQ8 and TMT10) across CID, HCD, and ETD fragmentation using high resolution high mass accuracy Orbitrap instrumentation. We found pY peptide neutral loss behavior was consistent with reduced proton mobility, and does not occur during ETD. The site of protonation at the peptide N-terminus changes from a primary to a tertiary amine as a result of TMT labeling which would increase the gas phase basicity and reduce proton mobility at this site. This change in fragmentation behavior has implications during instrument method development and interpretation of MS/MS spectra, and therefore ensuing follow-up studies. We show how sites not localized to tyrosine by search and site localization algorithms can be confidently reassigned to tyrosine using neutral loss and phosphotyrosine immonium ions. We believe these findings will be of general interest to those studying pY signal transduction using isobaric tags.
Project description:Analysis of gene expression to define molecular mechanisms and pathways involved in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) proliferation and differentiations has allowed for further deciphering of the self-renewal and pluripotency characteristics of hESC. Proteins associated with hESCs were discovered through isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ). Undifferentiated hESCs and hESCs in different stages of spontaneous differentiation by embryoid body (EB) formation were analyzed. Using the iTRAQ approach, we identified 156 differentially expressed proteins involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis, transcription, translation, mRNA processing, and protein synthesis. Proteins involved in nucleic acid binding, protein synthesis, and integrin signaling were downregulated during differentiation, whereas cytoskeleton proteins were upregulated. The present findings added insight to our understanding of the mechanisms involved in hESC proliferation and differentiation.
Project description:Relative quantification of proteins via their enzymatically digested peptide products determines disease biomarker candidate lists in discovery studies. Isobaric label-based strategies using TMT and iTRAQ allow for up to 10 samples to be multiplexed in one experiment, but their expense limits their use. The demand for cost-effective tagging reagents capable of multiplexing many samples led us to develop an 8-plex version of our isobaric labeling reagent, DiLeu.The original 4-plex DiLeu reagent was extended to an 8-plex set by coupling isotopic variants of dimethylated leucine to an alanine balance group designed to offset the increasing mass of the label's reporter group. Tryptic peptides from a single protein digest, a protein mixture digest, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae lysate digest were labeled with 8-plex DiLeu and analyzed via nanospray liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC/MS(2) ) on a Q-Exactive Orbitrap mass spectrometer. Characteristics of 8-plex DiLeu-labeled peptides, including quantitative accuracy and fragmentation, were examined.An 8-plex set of DiLeu reagents with 1 Da spaced reporters was synthesized at a yield of 36%. The average cost to label eight 100 µg peptide samples was calculated to be approximately $15. Normalized collision energy tests on the Q-Exactive revealed that a higher-energy collisional dissociation value of 27 generated the optimum number of high-quality spectral matches. Relative quantification of DiLeu-labeled peptides yielded normalized median ratios accurate to within 12% of their expected values.Cost-effective 8-plex DiLeu reagents can be synthesized and applied to relative peptide and protein quantification. These labels increase the multiplexing capacity of our previous 4-plex implementation without requiring high-resolution instrumentation to resolve reporter ion signals.
Project description:Improving analytical precision is a major goal in quantitative differential proteomics as high precision ensures low numbers of outliers, a source of false positives with regard to quantification. In addition, higher precision increases statistical power, i.e., the probability to detect significant differences. With chemical labeling using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) or tandem mass tag (TMT) reagents, quantification is based on the extraction of reporter ions from tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) spectra. We compared the performance of two versions of the LTQ Orbitrap higher energy collisional dissociation (HCD) cell with and without an axial electric field with regard to reporter ion quantification. The HCD cell with the axial electric field was designed to push fragment ions into the C-trap and this version is mounted in current Orbitrap XL ETD and Orbitrap Velos instruments. Our goal was to evaluate whether the purported improvement in ion transmission had a measurable impact on the precision of MS/MS based quantification using peptide labeling with isobaric tags. We show that the axial electric field led to an increased percentage of HCD spectra in which the complete set of reporter ions was detected and, even more important, to a reduction in overall variance, i.e., improved analytical precision of the acquired data. Notably, adequate precision of HCD-based quantification was maintained even for low precursor ion intensities of a complex biological sample. These findings may help researchers in their design of quantitative proteomics studies using isobaric tags and establish HCD-based quantification on the LTQ Orbitrap as a highly precise approach in quantitative proteomics.
Project description:Quantitative mass spectrometry methods offer near-comprehensive proteome coverage; however, these methods still suffer with regards to sample throughput. Multiplex quantitation via isobaric chemical tags (e.g., TMT and iTRAQ) provides an avenue for mass spectrometry-based proteome quantitation experiments to move away from simple binary comparisons and toward greater parallelization. Herein, we demonstrate a straightforward method for immediately expanding the throughput of the TMT isobaric reagents from 6-plex to 8-plex. This method is based upon our ability to resolve the isotopic shift that results from substituting a (15)N for a (13)C. In an accommodation to the preferred fragmentation pathways of ETD, the TMT-127 and -129 reagents were recently modified such that a (13)C was exchanged for a (15)N. As a result of this substitution, the new TMT reporter ions are 6.32 mDa lighter. Even though the mass difference between these reporter ion isotopologues is incredibly small, modern high-resolution and mass accuracy analyzers can resolve these ions. On the basis of our ability to resolve and accurately measure the relative intensity of these isobaric reporter ions, we demonstrate that we are able to quantify across eight samples simultaneously by combining the (13)C- and (15)N-containing reporter ions. Considering the structure of the TMT reporter ion, we believe this work serves as a blueprint for expanding the multiplexing capacity of the TMT reagents to at least 10-plex and possibly up to 18-plex.