Hear about the Top Down version of the Human Proteome Project!
Thursday, 03 January 2013
The tectonic collision of biology with separation science, MS, and informatics occurred over the past 15 years and was driven by contributions from more than 100 laboratories. Like budding yeast, MS is sprouting emergent approaches for the direct profiling and MS/MS analysis of heterogeneous proteins in ever more complex mixtures. Such approaches promise to determine molecular indicators of complex diseases and deepen our understanding of dynamic regulatory mechanisms in cell biology.
Congratulations to Neil Kelleher for being awarded a $1 million grant from the KeckFoundation. This grant will be used to develop a hybrid mass spectrometer. Philip Compton, John Tran, and Adam Catherman will also be involved in the project. To read more about the project and the KeckFoundation, please see an article published on the Northwestern University website.
Our Chromatin Oncobiology and DNA-Damage subgroup continues to dig deeper into the "histone code", a complex mixture of post-translational modifications that together determine a host of cellular processes. We are interested in visualizing dynamic histone PTM changes simultaneously on multiple sites. Through application of technology developed in our Top Down Proteomics subgroup, we are able to apply "Precision Proteomics" to histone analysis.
Our Computational Proteomics subgroup focuses on the development of specialized software for the analysis of intact proteins and peptides. Learn more about ProSight PTM 2.0, our in house designed analysis tool, on the software page.
Our Natural Products subgroup is focused on the discovery and biosynthesis of novel natural products. Developments from this subgroup include the introduction of the PrISM platform, geared towards the identification of natural products synthesized by nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs) without prior knowledge of a gene sequence. This is made possible by our ability to detect a phosphopantetheinyl (Ppant) ejection marker ion for NRPS/PKS thiolation domains. We also work in collaboration with groups from other universities to provide mass spectrometry analysis of novel biochemical systems.
The main focus for our Top Down Proteomics subgroup is to push the limits for whole proteome analysis of mammalian cells, striving for a future in which Top Down analysis rivals that of Bottom Up in the number of protein identifications per run. Recently we have seen progress towards this very goal with the introduction of a separation platform specifically designed to minimize the most common problem in Top Down Proteomics, intact protein separations. This platform effectively reduces sample complexity and separates proteins depending on size, resulting in an opportunity for the researcher to select the optimal analysis method for the sample.