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4D Proteomics: Adding Dimension to Protein Detection

3D rendition of a protein kinase showing each protein domain in a different color.

The field of oncology research has evolved significantly over the years, with new technologies constantly emerging to improve our understanding and treatment of cancer. One such technology is 4D proteomics, which utilizes four dimensions (retention time, mass, intensity, and ion mobility) to improve the detection of low-abundant peptides in complex biological samples. This powerful technique has proven to be particularly useful in personalized medicine and biomarker discovery for cancer research[1].


What is 4D Proteomics?

Proteomics is the study of all proteins present in a given sample or organism. Traditional proteomic methods have typically focused on identifying and quantifying proteins in a sample based on their mass and abundance. However, this approach often falls short when it comes to detecting low-abundant peptides, limiting our ability to fully understand the complexity of biological systems.

That's where 4D proteomics comes in. This technique adds an additional dimension (ion mobility) to the traditional three dimensions of mass, retention time, and intensity. Ion mobility measures the ability of a molecule to move through a buffer gas under an electric field, providing another valuable data point to improve peptide separation and identification[1].


Example of 4D proteomics analysis output and data visualization.


The Benefits of 4D Proteomics in Oncology Research

The use of 4D proteomics has greatly improved the sensitivity and specificity of peptide identification, making it particularly useful in oncology research where small changes in protein levels can have significant implications. The addition of ion mobility as a fourth dimension has also improved peptide separation and identification, making it easier to analyze complex samples such as blood or tissue from cancer patients. This is especially crucial in personalized medicine, where individualized treatments are tailored to a patient's specific cancer and its unique molecular characteristics[2].

Additionally, ion mobility helps differentiate each phosphopeptide isoform, accurately identifying the phosphorylation site on the peptide and quantitating each peptide form. This is critical for example in measuring certain kinases whose activity or substrate selectivity is controlled by phosphorylation at specific sites[3].


In conclusion, the use of 4D proteomics has revolutionized the field of oncology research by improving our ability to detect low-abundant peptides and analyze complex samples. This technology has proven to be particularly valuable in personalized medicine and biomarker discovery for cancer research. As more studies continue to utilize 4D proteomics, we can expect further advancements in our fight against cancer.


Visual of the 4D Quantitative Proteomics fact sheet to download for more information about Champions' proteomics offering.