Resource (core) facilities have played an ever-increasing role in furnishing the scientific community with specialized instrumentation and expertise for proteomics experiments in a cost-effective manner. The Proteomics Research Group (PRG) of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) has sponsored a number of research studies designed to enable participants to try new techniques and assess their capabilities relative to other laboratories analyzing the same samples. Presented here are results from three PRG studies representing different samples that are typically analyzed in a core facility, ranging from simple protein identification to targeted analyses, and include intentional challenges to reflect realistic studies. The PRG2008 study compares different strategies for the qualitative characterization of proteins, particularly the utility of complementary methods for characterizing truncated protein forms. The use of different approaches for determining quantitative differences for several target proteins in human plasma was the focus of the PRG2009 study. The PRG2010 study explored different methods for determining specific constituents while identifying unforeseen problems that could account for unanticipated results associated with the different samples, and included 15N-labeled proteins as an additional challenge. These studies provide a valuable educational resource to research laboratories and core facilities, as well as a mechanism for establishing good laboratory practices.
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