Alternative strategies for proteomic analysis and relative protein quantitation
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The main approach to studying the proteome is a technique called data dependent acquisition (DDA). In DDA, peptides are analyzed by mass spectrometry to determine the protein composition of a biological isolate. However, DDA is limited in its ability to analyze the proteome, in that it only selects the most abundant ions for analysis, and different protein identifications can result even if the same sample is analyzed multiple times in succession. Data independent acquisition (DIA) is a newly developed method that should be able to solve these limitations and improve our ability to analyze the proteome. We used an implementation of DIA (SWATH) to perform relative protein quantitation in the model bacterial system, Clostridium stercorarium, using two different carbohydrate sources, and found that it was able to provide precise quantitation of proteins and was overall more consistent in its ability to identify components of the proteome than DDA. Relative quantitation of proteins is an important method that can determine which proteins are important to a biochemical process of interest. How we determine which proteins are differentially regulated between different conditions is an important question in proteomic analysis. We developed a new approach to analyzing differential protein expression using variation between biological replicates to determine which proteins are being differentially regulated between two conditions. This analysis showed that a large proportion of proteins identified by quantitative proteomic analysis can be differentially regulated and that these proteins are in fact related to biological processes. Analyzing changes in protein expression is a useful tool that can pinpoint many key processes in biological systems. However, these techniques fail to take into account that enzyme activity is regulated by other factors than controlling their level of expression. Activity based protein profiling (ABPP) is a method that can determine the activity state of an enzyme in whole cell proteomes. We found that enzyme activity can change in response to a number of different conditions and that these changes do not always correspond with compositional changes. Mass spectrometry techniques were also used to identify serine hydrolases and characterize their expression in this organism.