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1.  PAS-cal: a Generic Recombinant Peptide Calibration Standard for Mass Spectrometry 
We describe the design, preparation, and mass-spectrometric characterization of a new recombinant peptide calibration standard with uniform biophysical and ionization characteristics for mass spectrometry. “PAS-cal” is an artificial polypeptide concatamer of peptide cassettes with varying lengths, each composed of the three small, chemically stable amino acids Pro, Ala, and Ser, which are interspersed by Arg residues to allow site-specific cleavage with trypsin. PAS-cal is expressed at high yields in Escherichia coli as a Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier (SUMO) fusion protein, which is easily purified and allows isolation of the PAS-cal moiety after SUMO protease cleavage. Upon subsequent in situ treatment with trypsin, the PAS-cal polypeptide yields a set of four defined homogeneous peptides in the range from 2 to 8 kDa with equal mass spacing. ESI-MS analysis revealed a conveniently interpretable raw spectrum, which after deconvolution resulted in a very simple pattern of four peaks with similar ionization signals. MALDI-MS analysis of a PAS-cal peptide mixture comprising both the intact polypeptide and its tryptic fragments revealed not only the four standard peptides but also the singly and doubly charged states of the intact concatamer as well as di- and trimeric adduct ion species between the peptides, thus augmenting the observable m/z range. The advantageous properties of PAS-cal are most likely a result of the strongly hydrophilic and conformationally disordered PEG-like properties of the PAS sequences. Therefore, PAS-cal offers an inexpensive and versatile recombinant peptide calibration standard for mass spectrometry in protein/peptide bioanalytics and proteomics research, the composition of which may be further adapted to fit individual needs.
PMCID: PMC4105587  PMID: 24867428
Electrospray ionization; PASylation; Protease cleavage; Recombinant polypeptide; Trypsin
2.  MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry for In Situ Proteomic Analysis of Preneoplastic Lesions in Pancreatic Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39424.
The identification of new biomarkers for preneoplastic pancreatic lesions (PanINs, IPMNs) and early pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is crucial due to the diseasés high mortality rate upon late detection. To address this task we used the novel technique of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) on genetically engineered mouse models (GEM) of pancreatic cancer. Various GEM were analyzed with MALDI IMS to investigate the peptide/protein-expression pattern of precursor lesions in comparison to normal pancreas and PDAC with cellular resolution. Statistical analysis revealed several discriminative m/z-species between normal and diseased tissue. Intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) could be distinguished from normal pancreatic tissue and PDAC by 26 significant m/z-species. Among these m/z-species, we identified Albumin and Thymosin-beta 4 by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which were further validated by immunohistochemistry, western blot, quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA in both murine and human tissue. Thymosin-beta 4 was found significantly increased in sera of mice with PanIN lesions. Upregulated PanIN expression of Albumin was accompanied by increased expression of liver-restricted genes suggesting a hepatic transdifferentiation program of preneoplastic cells. In conclusion we show that GEM of endogenous PDAC are a suitable model system for MALDI-IMS and subsequent LC-MS/MS analysis, allowing in situ analysis of small precursor lesions and identification of differentially expressed peptides and proteins.
PMCID: PMC3383687  PMID: 22761793
3.  ELM server: a new resource for investigating short functional sites in modular eukaryotic proteins 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(13):3625-3630.
Multidomain proteins predominate in eukaryotic proteomes. Individual functions assigned to different sequence segments combine to create a complex function for the whole protein. While on-line resources are available for revealing globular domains in sequences, there has hitherto been no comprehensive collection of small functional sites/motifs comparable to the globular domain resources, yet these are as important for the function of multidomain proteins. Short linear peptide motifs are used for cell compartment targeting, protein–protein interaction, regulation by phosphorylation, acetylation, glycosylation and a host of other post-translational modifications. ELM, the Eukaryotic Linear Motif server at, is a new bioinformatics resource for investigating candidate short non-globular functional motifs in eukaryotic proteins, aiming to fill the void in bioinformatics tools. Sequence comparisons with short motifs are difficult to evaluate because the usual significance assessments are inappropriate. Therefore the server is implemented with several logical filters to eliminate false positives. Current filters are for cell compartment, globular domain clash and taxonomic range. In favourable cases, the filters can reduce the number of retained matches by an order of magnitude or more.
PMCID: PMC168952  PMID: 12824381

Results 1-3 (3)