Journal of proteome research

The proteomic reactor facilitates the analysis of affinity-purified proteins by mass spectrometry: application for identifying ubiquitinated proteins in human cells.

PMID 17203973


Mass spectrometry (MS) coupled to affinity purification is a powerful approach for identifying protein-protein interactions and for mapping post-translational modifications. Prior to MS analysis, affinity-purified proteins are typically separated by gel electrophoresis, visualized with a protein stain, excised, and subjected to in-gel digestion. An inherent limitation of this series of steps is the loss of protein sample that occurs during gel processing. Although methods employing in-solution digestion have been reported, they generally suffer from poor reaction kinetics. In the present study, we demonstrate an application of a microfluidic processing device, termed the Proteomic Reactor, for enzymatic digestion of affinity-purified proteins for liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. Use of the Proteomic Reactor enabled the identification of numerous ubiquitinated proteins in a human cell line expressing reduced amounts of the ubiquitin-dependent chaperone, valosin-containing protein (VCP). The Proteomic Reactor is a novel technology that facilitates the analysis of affinity-purified proteins and has the potential to aid future biological studies.