What's New in Mass Spectrometry?

Last summer got off to a hot start at the June 2005 American Society for Mass Spectrometry meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Aileen Constans
Sep 25, 2005
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Courtesy of Waters Corporation

Waters' Quattro Premier XE Mass Spectrometer

Last summer got off to a hot start at the June 2005 American Society for Mass Spectrometry meeting in San Antonio, Texas. With new product releases ranging from labeling reagents for quantitative proteomics to breakthrough hybrid mass spectrometry technology, a variety of companies took advantage of the large gathering of potential customers to introduce their wares. This roundup highlights several new and noteworthy offerings.

BUZZWORTHY MASS SPECTROMETERS

Thermo Electron http://www.thermo.com of Waltham, Mass., released the LTQ Orbitrap, a hybrid tandem instrument combining a linear ion trap mass spectrometer with a new Fourier transform (FT) mass analyzer called an Orbitrap (see related story, page 20). Invented by Alexander Makarov in the late 1990s, the Orbitrap is the first new mass spectrometry technique to be commercialized within the last 20 years, says marketing manager Helmut Muenster.

John Yates of The Scripps Research...

BIOMARKER BONANZA

Boston-based PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences http://las.perkinelmer.com announced its BioXPRESSION platform for biomarker discovery and screening. According to Mary Lopez, business leader for analytical proteomics, the platform consists of three technologies designed to facilitate the discovery of diagnostic patterns for disease.

The first is a high-throughput sample-preparation method that uses membrane absorbers to capture abundant carrier proteins such as albumin, and a proprietary chemistry (developed by partner Vivascience of Hannover, Germany) to release low-abundance biomarkers that are associated with the carrier proteins directly onto a MALDI plate, leaving the carrier proteins behind.

The platform's other components are PerkinElmer's high-resolution prOTOF mass spectrometer, which can acquire spectra over a broad mass range (700–10,000 daltons) in one acquisition, and new biomarker analysis software developed with partner companies Nonlinear Dynamics and Predictive Diagnostics, to handle the resulting data. Lopez says the company has a paper in press describing the platform's use for the discovery of a diagnostic pattern for Alzheimer disease.

ALTERNATIVE TO ICAT

Bruker Daltonics http://www.bdal.com of Billerica, Mass., introduced kits for ICPL, a stable isotope labeling technique developed by Serva Electrophoresis of Heidelberg, Germany, for quantitative proteomic analysis. ICPL, says Detlev Suckau, head of proteomics at Bruker, is an alternative to ICAT. ICAT is a differential labeling method that allows researchers to directly compare two mass profiles in a single run of the mass spectrometer. Whereas ICAT targets cysteine residues, which are low in abundance, ICPL uses an NHS-ester-based chemistry to label more abundant lysine side chains along with the protein N-terminus with high specificity, he says.

Another advantage, says Suckau, is that ICPL labeling is done at the level of the intact proteome; the two samples to be analyzed are labeled first, combined, fractionated, and then digested. In ICAT, the proteins are digested before the resulting peptides are labeled, potentially introducing errors because the two samples are digested under different conditions, Suckau says.

Bruker Daltonics, which is comarketing ICPL with Serva, offers software to support quantitative proteomic analysis with the ICPL kits.

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