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Keywords:

  • relative quantification;
  • absolute quantification;
  • isotopic labeling;
  • label-free quantification;
  • biomarker

Abstract

The systematic analysis of biological processes requires an understanding of the quantitative expression patterns of proteins, their interacting partners and their subcellular localization. This information was formerly difficult to accrue as the relative quantification of proteins relied on antibody-based methods and other approaches with low throughput. The advent of soft ionization techniques in mass spectrometry plus advances in separation technologies has aligned protein systems biology with messenger RNA, DNA, and microarray technologies to provide data on systems as opposed to singular protein entities. Another aspect of quantitative proteomics that increases its importance for the coming few years is the significant technical developments underway both for high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrum devices. Hence, robustness, reproducibility and mass accuracy are still improving with every new generation of instruments. Nonetheless, the methods employed require validation and comparison to design fit for purpose experiments in advanced protein analyses. This review considers the newly developed systematic protein investigation methods and their value from the standpoint that relative or absolute protein quantification is required de rigueur in biomedical research. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 32:1–26, 2013