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Multiparameter Optimization of Two Common Proteomics Quantification Methods for Quantifying Low-Abundance Proteins

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posted on 05.11.2018, 00:00 authored by Chengqian Zhang, Zhaomei Shi, Ying Han, Yan Ren, Piliang Hao
Quantitative proteomics has been extensively applied in the screening of differentially regulated proteins in various research areas for decades, but its sensitivity and accuracy have been a bottleneck for many applications. Every step in the proteomics workflow can potentially affect the quantification of low-abundance proteins, but a systematic evaluation of their effects has not been done yet. In this work, to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of label-free quantification and tandem mass tags (TMT) labeling in quantifying low-abundance proteins, multiparameter optimization was carried out using a complex 2-proteome artificial sample mixture for a series of steps from sample preparation to data analysis, including the desalting of peptides, peptide injection amount for LC-MS/MS, MS1 resolution, the length of LC-MS/MS gradient, AGC targets, ion accumulation time, MS2 resolution, precursor coisolation threshold, data analysis software, statistical calculation methods, and protein fold changes, and the best settings for each parameter were defined. The suitable cutoffs for detecting low-abundance proteins with at least 1.5-fold and 2-fold changes were identified for label-free and TMT methods, respectively. The use of optimized parameters will significantly improve the overall performance of quantitative proteomics in quantifying low-abundance proteins and thus promote its application in other research areas.