Robust Microflow LC-MS/MS for Proteome Analysis: 38 000 Runs and Counting

Bian, Y. Y., Bayer, F. P., Chang, Y. C., Meng, C., Hoefer, S., Deng, N., Zheng, R. S., Boychenko, O., and Kuster, B. (2021). Anal Chem 93, 3686-3690. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.1c00257


Microflow liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (μLC-MS/MS) is becoming a viable alternative to nanoflow LC-MS/MS for the analysis of proteomes. We have recently demonstrated the potential of such a system operating with a 1 mm i.d. × 150 mm column and at a flow rate of 50 μL/min for high-throughput applications. On the basis of the analysis of ∼38 000 samples measured on two instruments over the past two years, we now show that the approach is extremely robust. Up to 1500 analyses were performed within one month, and >14 000 samples could be analyzed on a single column without loss of chromatographic performance. Samples included proteomes of cell lines, tissues, and human body fluids, which were analyzed with or without prior peptide fractionation or stable isotope labeling. We show that the μLC-MS/MS system is capable of measuring 2600 proteins from undepleted human plasma and ∼5000 proteins from crude human urine in 1 day, demonstrating its potential for in-depth as well as high-throughput clinical application.