With the growing availability and popularity of increasingly robust mass spectrometry (MS) technology for Proteomics research, the need for verification and validation of data has grown significantly. Traditionally, verification and validation of MS outputs (e.g. in the form of putative biomarkers) has been done using some form of antibody based approach (such as ELISA, Western Blotting, or bead-based immunoassays). However, these techniques can be costly, are not always amenable to multiplexing, and can present insurmountable technical difficulties.

An alternative is the application of triple quadrupole MS instrumentation to perform highly specific protein detection and quantification using multiple reaction-monitoring (MRM). When used in conjunction with isotopically labelled standards, MRM based analysis has the ability to obtain absolute amounts of proteins of interest. This targeted Proteomics approach enables the quantification of proteins and peptides with high reproducibility, accuracy and sensitivity.

While already a mature and robust technology, as can be seen in its wide use for small molecule detection in drug development, triple quad technology has seen dramatic recent improvements in sensitivity for peptide and protein quantification. Thus, it is not only an appropriate orthogonal tool to validate discovery Proteomics results but it has the potential to improve on, or even replace, antibody based methodologies used in diagnostic tests or clinical trials. The ability to perform multiplexed protein quantitation in a rapid and inexpensive manner makes this approach especially attractive to researchers looking to select biomarkers most suitable for clinical validation.

In order to strengthen already existing mass spectrometry capacity in the field of Proteomics, the CPGR has forged a collaboration with mass spectrometry vendor Waters Corporation, through Microsep, the exclusive distributor for Waters products in South Africa. In the partnership, the CPGR will use dedicated high-end triple quad MS technology (Waters ACQUITY M-Class UPLC/Xevo TQ-S MS) in the interest of expanding its service offering for researchers who aim at validating discovery Proteomics results or at profiling a set of known markers in a cost-efficient manner. In addition to enhancing its technology base, CPGR has also entered into a collaboration with Berlin-based peptide solutions provider JPT Peptide Technologies. In the partnership, CPGR will obtain access to JPT’s SpiketideTM and SpikeMixTM technologies and peptide know-how for the development, optimisation and validation of multiplex protein quantification assays.

In addition to validation, triple quad based targeted Proteomics is at the forefront of a return to a more hypothesis driven approach in biological and biomedical research. Scientists, in particular systems biologists, are applying targeted Proteomics strategies to test hypotheses generated from insights gained from a range of omics studies. While discovery proteomics has provided a valuable map to “scientific gold”, targeted Proteomics provides the means to extract and refine biologically significant knowledge from the ever expanding mass of information. As more and more ‘omic’ data is produced, the trend towards more focussed, targeted Proteomics is likely to continue, and with it the need to access relevant hardware and expertise.

Through CPGR, scientists will have convenient access to high-end discovery and targeted molecular technologies, thereby facilitating hypothesis-generating and -validating work under one operational umbrella. The CPGR hosts a suit of Genomics and Proteomics platforms that allow the design and execution of projects using single or a combination of ‘omics’ methodologies to generate targeted and systems biological insights. Embedded in an ISO 9001:2008 certified environment experimental outputs will be geared for further conversion into biomarker assays or routine applications, thus enhancing Translational Research endeavours.

For queries contact Zac McDonald at zac.mcdonald@cpgr.org.za

About CPGR

The CPGR is Africa’s first fully integrated ‘omics’ service provider, built to leapfrog South Africa’s ability to conduct information-rich biomedical research onto a globally competitive level. Amongst others, the organization offers the following ‘omics’ capacity: Next-Generation Sequencing: MiSeq (1x), IonTorrent PGM (2x), IonProton (1x), for high-performance sequencing projects; Microarrays: Affymetrix GS 3000 and Affymetrix GeneTitan for genoytping and gene-expression analysis; Tecan LS and Tecan hyb station for protein array analysis, Genetix Qarray 2 for protein array printing; Mass spectrometry: Thermo Q Exactive for MS-Proteomics; High-throughput PCR (ABI 7900); DNA/RNA QC; dedicated IT infrastructure and bioinformatic applications for data analysis and interpretation.

The CPGR is a non-profit company based in Cape Town, South Africa, and based on an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), financially supported by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), to boost the development of a bio-economy in South Africa. The CPGR combines state-of-the-art information rich genomic and proteomic (‘omics’) technologies with bio-computational pipelines to create unique solutions in the human health and the agri-biotech sectors. The CPGR has adopted an ISO 9001:2008 certified quality management system and is a BEE Level 2 contributor to socio-economic transformation in South Africa. Information about the CPGR can be obtained at www.cpgr.org.za and www.cpgr.org.za/blogspot.

About Microsep (Pty) Ltd

Microsep, a privately owned, South African registered company, distributes and supports internationally recognised market-leading brands. The company’s focus is in the laboratory, industrial and retail market segments, providing systems and solutions to the separations science, water purification, analytical instrumentation, microporous membrane filtration, high precision weighing, metal detection, dimensioning, logistics and retail automation industries. Our extensive range of products are supplied and serviced via the Johannesburg Head Office and branches in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Microsep strives to deliver world-class products and services to the wide range of customers who rely on cutting edge technology to compete in the local and global markets. All our suppliers provide products of the highest quality, manufactured within stringent quality control environments and are certified to ISO 9001 international standard approval. Information about Microsep and the range of products they distribute and service can be obtained at www.microsep.co.za

About Waters Corporation

For fifty years, Waters Corp. has developed innovative analytical science solutions to support customer discoveries, operations, performance, and regulatory compliance.

Waters Corp., a publicly traded corporation (NYSE:WAT) headquartered in Milford, Massachusetts, holds worldwide leading positions in complementary analytical technologies – liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry.

Specifically, the company designs, manufactures, sells and services ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), chromatography columns and chemistry products, mass spectrometry (MS) systems.

Waters Corp. creates business advantages for laboratory-dependent organizations by delivering practical and sustainable scientific innovation to enable significant advancement in healthcare delivery, environmental management, food safety, and water quality. Waters Division products are used by pharmaceutical, life science, biochemical, industrial, academic and government organizations working in research and development, quality assurance and other laboratory applications. Waters UPLC, HPLC and MS instruments and consumables are used in a broad range of industries to measure the chemical, physical and biological composition of materials. Information about Waters Corp., and more specifically the CPGR MS system, can be obtained at www.waters.com and www.waters.com/waters/en_ZA/Xevo-TQ-S/nav.htm?cid=10160596&locale=en_ZA