Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Side-to-Side Proteomics with Virtual 2-D Gels
Intact protein masses can be measured directly from immobilized pH gradient (IPG) isoelectric focusing (IEF) gels loaded with mammalian and prokaryotic samples, as demonstrated here with murine macrophage and Methanosarcina acetivorans cell lysates. Mass accuracy and resolution is improved by employing instruments which decouple the desorption event from mass measurement; e.g., quadrupole time-of-flight instruments. MALDI in-source dissociation (ISD) is discussed as a means to pursue top-down sequencing for protein identification. Methods have been developed to enzymatically digest all proteins in an IEF gel simultaneously, leaving the polyacrylamide gel attached to its polyester support. By retaining all gel pieces and their placement relative to one another, sample handling and tracking are minimized, and comparison to 2-D gel images is facilitated. MALDI-MS and MS/MS can then be performed directly from dried, matrix-treated IPG strips following whole gel trypsin digestion, bottom-up methodology. Side-to-side proteomics, highlighting the link between virtual and classical 2-D gel electrophoresis, is introduced to describe a method whereby intact masses are measured from one side (the IEF gel), while proteins are identified based on analyses performed from the other side (the SDS-PAGE gel).