Journal of biomolecular techniques : JBT

Evaluation of a novel, integrated approach using functionalized magnetic beads, bench-top MALDI-TOF-MS with prestructured sample supports, and pattern recognition software for profiling potential biomarkers in human plasma.

PMID 15331582


The advantage of using proteins and peptides as biomarkers is that they can be found readily in blood, urine, and other biological fluids. Such sample types are easily obtained and represent a potentially rich palette of biologically informative molecules. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) represents a key tool for rapidly interrogating such sample types. The goal of clinical proteomics is to harness the power of this tool for identifying novel, condition-specific protein fingerprints that may, in turn, lead to the elucidation and use of diseasespecific biomarkers that may be used to diagnose disease as well as to evaluate disease severity, disease progression, and intervention efficacy. Here we have evaluated a simple, affordable bench-top MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer to generate protein profiles from human plasma samples of asthma patients and healthy individuals. We achieve this profiling by using C8-functionalized magnetic beads that enrich a specific subset of plasma proteins based on their absorption by this resin. This step is followed by elution, transfer onto a prestructured sample support (AnchorChip technology), and analysis in a bench-top MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer (OmniFLEX) with AutoXecute acquisition control which enables automated operation with reproducible results. Resulting spectra are compiled and analyzed through the pattern recognition component of ClinProTools software. This approach in combination with ClinProTools software permits the investigator to rapidly scan for potential biomarker peptides/proteins in human plasma. The reproducibility of plasma profiles within and between days has been evaluated. The results show that the novel and facile approach with manual magnetic-bead sample preparation and a low-cost bench-top MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer is suitable for preliminary biomarker discovery studies.