Absolute Protein Quantification Using AQUA-Calibrated 2D-PAGE

  • Sandra MaaßEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1841)


Absolute protein quantification for the analysis of proteome dynamics is more and more required by the scientific community. Therefore a number of methods have recently been reported that aim at determining concentrations of single proteins in complex samples, all of them having their advantages and limitations. However, for all of these methods an accurate and protein unspecific determination of the total protein amount in a given sample is urgently needed. Here a ninhydrin-based assay established to reach this goal is described. Moreover, an optimized protocol for protein digestion is an inevitable prerequisite for all mass spectrometry-based approaches aiming at absolute protein quantification. In this chapter, various aspects are described which have to be considered during validation of a suitable digestion method and a detailed protocol is presented that can be applied to the digestion of soluble proteins originated from microbes.

In order to provide an absolute protein quantification workflow applicable for small scale and large scale approaches, a step-by-step guide is provided for the so-called AQUA-strategy (AQUA = absolute quantification), including selection of suited standard peptides, the development of optimized MS methods and the determination of absolute protein concentration using stable isotope dilution and selected reaction monitoring (SID-SRM). Subsequently, a workflow is introduced that combines targeted mass spectrometry and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis for the large-scale determination of absolute protein amounts.

Key words

Proteomics Absolute protein quantification Protein Digestion AQUA Stable isotope dilution Selected reaction monitoring 2D-PAGE 



This work was supported by the German Research Foundation Grant SFB/TR34.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbial Proteomics, Institute for MicrobiologyUniversity GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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