Automated selected reaction monitoring software for accurate label-free protein quantification.
ABSTRACT: Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) is a mass spectrometry method with documented ability to quantify proteins accurately and reproducibly using labeled reference peptides. However, the use of labeled reference peptides becomes impractical if large numbers of peptides are targeted and when high flexibility is desired when selecting peptides. We have developed a label-free quantitative SRM workflow that relies on a new automated algorithm, Anubis, for accurate peak detection. Anubis efficiently removes interfering signals from contaminating peptides to estimate the true signal of the targeted peptides. We evaluated the algorithm on a published multisite data set and achieved results in line with manual data analysis. In complex peptide mixtures from whole proteome digests of Streptococcus pyogenes we achieved a technical variability across the entire proteome abundance range of 6.5-19.2%, which was considerably below the total variation across biological samples. Our results show that the label-free SRM workflow with automated data analysis is feasible for large-scale biological studies, opening up new possibilities for quantitative proteomics and systems biology.
Project description:The conceptually simple step from cross-linking/mass spectrometry (CLMS) to quantitative cross-linking/mass spectrometry (QCLMS) is compounded by technical challenges. Currently, quantitative proteomics software is tightly integrated with the protein identification workflow. This prevents automatically quantifying other m/z features in a targeted manner including those associated with cross-linked peptides. Here we present a new release of MaxQuant that permits starting the quantification process from an m/z feature list. Comparing the automated quantification to a carefully manually curated test set of cross-linked peptides obtained by cross-linking C3 and C3b with BS(3) and isotope-labeled BS(3)-d4 revealed a number of observations: (1) Fully automated process using MaxQuant can quantify cross-links in our reference data set with 68% recall rate and 88% accuracy. (2) Hidden quantification errors can be converted into exposed failures by label-swap replica, which makes label-swap replica an essential part of QCLMS. (3) Cross-links that failed during automated quantification can be recovered by semi-automated re-quantification. The integrated workflow of MaxQuant and semi-automated assessment provides the maximum of quantified cross-links. In contrast, work on larger data sets or by less experienced users will benefit from full automation in MaxQuant.
Project description:Sample preparation for protein quantification by mass spectrometry requires multiple processing steps including denaturation, reduction, alkylation, protease digestion, and peptide cleanup. Scaling these procedures for the analysis of numerous complex biological samples can be tedious and time-consuming, as there are many liquid transfer steps and timed reactions where technical variations can be introduced and propagated. We established an automated sample preparation workflow with a total processing time for 96 samples of 5 h, including a 2 h incubation with trypsin. Peptide cleanup is accomplished by online diversion during the LC/MS/MS analysis. In a selected reaction monitoring (SRM) assay targeting 6 plasma biomarkers and spiked ?-galactosidase, mean intraday and interday cyclic voltammograms (CVs) for 5 serum and 5 plasma samples over 5 days were <20%. In a highly multiplexed SRM assay targeting more than 70 proteins, 90% of the transitions from 6 plasma samples repeated on 3 separate days had total CVs below 20%. Similar results were obtained when the workflow was transferred to a second site: 93% of peptides had CVs below 20%. An automated trypsin digestion workflow yields uniformly processed samples in less than 5 h. Reproducible quantification of peptides was observed across replicates, days, instruments, and laboratory sites, demonstrating the broad applicability of this approach.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Since its inception, proteomics has essentially operated in a discovery mode with the goal of identifying and quantifying the maximal number of proteins in a sample. Increasingly, proteomic measurements are also supporting hypothesis-driven studies, in which a predetermined set of proteins is consistently detected and quantified in multiple samples. Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) is a targeted mass spectrometric technique that supports the detection and quantification of specific proteins in complex samples at high sensitivity and reproducibility. Here, we describe ATAQS, an integrated software platform that supports all stages of targeted, SRM-based proteomics experiments including target selection, transition optimization and post acquisition data analysis. This software will significantly facilitate the use of targeted proteomic techniques and contribute to the generation of highly sensitive, reproducible and complete datasets that are particularly critical for the discovery and validation of targets in hypothesis-driven studies in systems biology.<h4>Result</h4>We introduce a new open source software pipeline, ATAQS (Automated and Targeted Analysis with Quantitative SRM), which consists of a number of modules that collectively support the SRM assay development workflow for targeted proteomic experiments (project management and generation of protein, peptide and transitions and the validation of peptide detection by SRM). ATAQS provides a flexible pipeline for end-users by allowing the workflow to start or end at any point of the pipeline, and for computational biologists, by enabling the easy extension of java algorithm classes for their own algorithm plug-in or connection via an external web site.This integrated system supports all steps in a SRM-based experiment and provides a user-friendly GUI that can be run by any operating system that allows the installation of the Mozilla Firefox web browser.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Targeted proteomics via SRM is a powerful new technique that enables the reproducible and accurate identification and quantification of sets of proteins of interest. ATAQS is the first open-source software that supports all steps of the targeted proteomics workflow. ATAQS also provides software API (Application Program Interface) documentation that enables the addition of new algorithms to each of the workflow steps. The software, installation guide and sample dataset can be found in http://tools.proteomecenter.org/ATAQS/ATAQS.html.
Project description:Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a serious complication of pregnancy with potentially life threatening consequences for both mother and baby. Presently there is no test with the required performance to predict which healthy first-time mothers will go on to develop PE. The high specificity, sensitivity, and multiplexed nature of selected reaction monitoring holds great potential as a tool for the verification and validation of putative candidate biomarkersfor disease states. Realization of this potential involves establishing a high throughput, cost effective, reproducible sample preparation workflow. We have developed a semi-automated HPLC-based sample preparation workflow before a label-free selected reaction monitoring approach. This workflow has been applied to the search for novel predictive biomarkers for PE. To discover novel candidate biomarkers for PE, we used isobaric tagging to identify several potential biomarker proteins in plasma obtained at 15 weeks gestation from nulliparous women who later developed PE compared with pregnant women who remained healthy. Such a study generates a number of "candidate" biomarkers that require further testing in larger patient cohorts. As proof-of-principle, two of these proteins were taken forward for verification in a 100 women (58 PE, 42 controls) using label-free SRM. We obtained reproducible protein quantitation across the 100 samples and demonstrated significant changes in protein levels, even with as little as 20% change in protein concentration. The SRM data correlated with a commercial ELISA, suggesting that this is a robust workflow suitable for rapid, affordable, label-free verification of which candidate biomarkers should be taken forward for thorough investigation. A subset of pregnancy-specific glycoproteins (PSGs) had value as novel predictive markers for PE.
Project description:We present a comprehensive workflow for large scale (>1000 transitions/run) label-free LC-MRM proteome assays. Innovations include automated MRM transition selection, intelligent retention time scheduling that improves S/N by twofold, and automatic peak modeling. Improvements to data analysis include a novel Q/C metric, normalized group area ratio, MLR normalization, weighted regression analysis, and data dissemination through the Yale protein expression database. As a proof of principle we developed a robust 90 min LC-MRM assay for mouse/rat postsynaptic density fractions which resulted in the routine quantification of 337 peptides from 112 proteins based on 15 observations per protein. Parallel analyses with stable isotope dilution peptide standards (SIS), demonstrate very high correlation in retention time (1.0) and protein fold change (0.94) between the label-free and SIS analyses. Overall, our method achieved a technical CV of 11.4% with >97.5% of the 1697 transitions being quantified without user intervention, resulting in a highly efficient, robust, and single injection LC-MRM assay.
Project description:Selected reaction monitoring (SRM), also called multiple reaction monitoring, has become an invaluable tool for targeted quantitative proteomic analyses, but its application can be compromised by nonoptimal selection of transitions. In particular, complex backgrounds may cause ambiguities in SRM measurement results because peptides with interfering transitions similar to those of the target peptide may be present in the sample. Here, we developed a computer program, the SRMCollider, that calculates nonredundant theoretical SRM assays, also known as unique ion signatures (UIS), for a given proteomic background. We show theoretically that UIS of three transitions suffice to conclusively identify 90% of all yeast peptides and 85% of all human peptides. Using predicted retention times, the SRMCollider also simulates time-scheduled SRM acquisition, which reduces the number of interferences to consider and leads to fewer transitions necessary to construct an assay. By integrating experimental fragment ion intensities from large scale proteome synthesis efforts (SRMAtlas) with the information content-based UIS, we combine two orthogonal approaches to create high quality SRM assays ready to be deployed. We provide a user friendly, open source implementation of an algorithm to calculate UIS of any order that can be accessed online at http://www.srmcollider.org to find interfering transitions. Finally, our tool can also simulate the specificity of novel data-independent MS acquisition methods in Q1-Q3 space. This allows us to predict parameters for these methods that deliver a specificity comparable with that of SRM. Using SRM interference information in addition to other sources of information can increase the confidence in an SRM measurement. We expect that the consideration of information content will become a standard step in SRM assay design and analysis, facilitated by the SRMCollider.
Project description:Chaperones are fundamental to regulating the heat shock response, mediating protein recovery from thermal-induced misfolding and aggregation. Using the QconCAT strategy and selected reaction monitoring (SRM) for absolute protein quantification, we have determined copy per cell values for 49 key chaperones in Saccharomyces cerevisiae under conditions of normal growth and heat shock. This work extends a previous chemostat quantification study by including up to five Q-peptides per protein to improve confidence in protein quantification. In contrast to the global proteome profile of S. cerevisiae in response to heat shock, which remains largely unchanged as determined by label-free quantification, many of the chaperones are upregulated with an average two-fold increase in protein abundance. Interestingly, eight of the significantly upregulated chaperones are direct gene targets of heat shock transcription factor-1. By performing absolute quantification of chaperones under heat stress for the first time, we were able to evaluate the individual protein-level response. Furthermore, this SRM data was used to calibrate label-free quantification values for the proteome in absolute terms, thus improving relative quantification between the two conditions. This study significantly enhances the largely transcriptomic data available in the field and illustrates a more nuanced response at the protein level.
Project description:Selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (SRM-MS) is a sensitive and accurate method for the quantification of targeted proteins in biological specimens. However, the sample throughput and reliability of this technique is limited by the complexity of sample preparation, as well as instrumentation and data processing. Modern robotic equipment allows for rapid and accurate processing of large number of samples and makes SRM-MS assay applicable in epidemiological studies. Herein, we describe an automated sample processing platform developed in the context of an SRM-MS protocol for the assay of complement factor H protein and its variants in human plasma. We report detailed performance data on plasma digestion, sample cleanup and optimized robotic handling implemented on a Biomek® NXp Workstation. Method validation was assessed with isotopically labeled peptide standards and had high reproducibility of intra-day assay (CVs from 2.7 to 17.5% with median CV of 5.3%) and inter-day assay (CVs from 4.8 to 17.6 with median CV of 7.2%) for all peptides.
Project description:<label>Background</label>Although total plasma lipoproteome consists of proteins that have shown promises as biomarkers that can identify Alzheimer's disease (AD), effect sizes are modest. The objective of this study is to provide initial proof-of-concept that the plasma lipoproteome more likely differ between AD cases and controls when measured in individual plasma lipoprotein fractions than when measured as total in immunodepleted plasma.<label>Methods</label>We first developed a targeted proteomics method based on selected reaction monitoring (SRM) and liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry for measurement of 120 tryptic peptides from 79 proteins that are commonly present in plasma lipoproteins. Then in a proof-of concept case-control study of 5 AD cases and 5 sex- and age-matched controls, we applied the targeted proteomic method and performed relatively quantification of 120 tryptic peptides in plasma lipoprotein fractions (fractionated by sequential gradient ultracentrifugation) and in immunodepleted plasma (of albumin and IgG). Unadjusted p values from two-sample t-tests and overall fold change was used to evaluate a peptide relative difference between AD cases and controls, with lower p values (<?0.05) or greater fold differences (>?1.05 or?<?0.95) suggestive of greater peptide/protein differences.<label>Results</label>Within-day and between-days technical precisions (mean %CV [SD] of all SRM transitions) of the targeted proteomic method were 3.95% (2.65) and 9.31% (5.59), respectively. Between-days technical precisions (mean % CV [SD]) of the entire plasma lipoproteomic workflow including plasma lipoprotein fractionation was 27.90% (14.61). Ten tryptic peptides that belonged to 5 proteins in plasma lipoproteins had unadjusted p values?<?0.05, compared to no peptides in immunodepleted plasma. Furthermore, 27, 32, 17, and 20 tryptic peptides in VLDL, IDL, LDL and HDL, demonstrated overall peptide fold differences?>?1.05 or?<?0.95, compared to only 6 tryptic peptides in immunodepleted plasma. The overall comparisons, therefore, suggested greater peptide/protein differences in plasma lipoproteome when measured in individual plasma lipoproteins than as total in immunodepleted plasma. Specifically, protein complement C3's peptide IHWESASLLR, had unadjusted p values of 0.00007, 0.00012, and 0.0006 and overall 1.25, 1.17, 1.14-fold changes in VLDL, IDL, and LDL, respectively. After positive False Discovery Rate (pFDR) adjustment, the complement C3 peptide IHWESASLLR in VLDL remained statistically different (adjusted p value?<?0.05).<label>Discussion</label>The findings may warrant future studies to investigate plasma lipoproteome when measured in individual plasma lipoprotein fractions for AD diagnosis.
Project description:We have developed a complete system for the isotopic labeling, fractionation, and automated quantification of differentially expressed peptides that significantly facilitates candidate biomarker discovery. We describe a new stable mass tagging reagent pair, (12)C(6)- and (13)C(6)-phenyl isocyanate (PIC), that offers significant advantages over currently available tags. Peptides are labeled predominantly at their amino termini and exhibit elution profiles that are independent of label isotope. Importantly, PIC-labeled peptides have unique neutral-mass losses upon CID fragmentation that enable charge state and label isotope identification and, thereby, decouple the sequence identification from the quantification of candidate biomarkers. To exploit these properties, we have coupled peptide fractionation protocols with a Thermo LTQ-XL LC-MS(2) data acquisition strategy and a suite of automated spectrum analysis software that identifies quantitative differences between labeled samples. This approach, dubbed the PICquant platform, is independent of protein sequence identification and excludes unlabeled peptides that otherwise confound biomarker discovery. Application of the PICquant platform to a set of complex clinical samples showed that the system allows rapid identification of peptides that are differentially expressed between control and patient groups.