Anglo-German company Proteome Sciences has developed a new reagent that it claims can dramatically enhance the sensitivity of mass spectrometers for the identification of proteins.
The introduction of high-throughput mass spectrometers capable of achieving very high mass accuracy has ensured that proteomics has become a key tool in the understanding of many biological processes, according to Proteome Sciences.
While two-dimensional gel-electrophoresis (2DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry allows many proteins to be identified without the need for full de novo sequencing, there are still many proteins that cannot be identified through this approach due to the volume and complexity of the proteins.
One reason for this may be the inability of many peptides within a mixture to ionise efficiently, a problem that is exacerbated for less abundant molecules, according to the comany, adding that Sensitizer overcomes these problems and increases peptide visibility 100-fold compared with an unlabelled peptide. Moreover, reducing the need for de novo sequencing can also cut costs.
Proteome Sciences is in discussions with potential licensees of the reagent which could lead to it becoming available as a commercial product to all users of mass spectrometry. It is compatible with all 1- and 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis protocols and can be used with all MALDI matrix systems, including those manufactured by Amersham Biosciences, Bio-Rad, Bruker, Thermo Finnegan and Applied Biosystems.
Sales of MALDI systems are growing by 10 to 15 per cent a year and are taking an increasing share of the global €1.8 billion mass spectrometry market.