Detection and quantification of proteins and cells by use of elemental mass spectrometry: progress and challenges
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- Yan, X., Yang, L. & Wang, Q. Anal Bioanal Chem (2013) 405: 5663. doi:10.1007/s00216-013-6886-1
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Much progress has been made in identification of the proteins in proteomes, and quantification of these proteins has attracted much interest. In addition to popular tandem mass spectrometric methods based on soft ionization, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), a typical example of mass spectrometry based on hard ionization, usually used for analysis of elements, has unique advantages in absolute quantification of proteins by determination of an element with a definite stoichiometry in a protein or attached to the protein. In this Trends article, we briefly describe state-of-the-art ICPMS-based methods for quantification of proteins, emphasizing protein-labeling and element-tagging strategies developed on the basis of chemically selective reactions and/or biospecific interactions. Recent progress from protein to cell quantification by use of ICPMS is also discussed, and the possibilities and challenges of ICPMS-based protein quantification for universal, selective, or targeted quantification of proteins and cells in a biological sample are also discussed critically. We believe ICPMS-based protein quantification will become ever more important in targeted quantitative proteomics and bioanalysis in the near future.