Increasing the throughput of sensitive proteomics by plexDIA


Derks J, Leduc A, Wallmann G, Huffman RG, Willetts M, Khan S, Specht H, Ralser M, Demichev V, Slavov N. Increasing the throughput of sensitive proteomics by plexDIA. Nature Biotechnology. 2022.


Current mass spectrometry methods enable high-throughput proteomics of large sample amounts, but proteomics of low sample amounts remains limited in depth and throughput. To increase the throughput of sensitive proteomics, we developed an experimental and computational framework, called plexDIA, for simultaneously multiplexing the analysis of peptides and samples. Multiplexed analysis with plexDIA increases throughput multiplicatively with the number of labels without reducing proteome coverage or quantitative accuracy. By using three-plex non-isobaric mass tags, plexDIA enables quantification of threefold more protein ratios among nanogram-level samples. Using 1-hour active gradients, plexDIA quantified \~8,000 proteins in each sample of labeled three-plex sets and increased data completeness, reducing missing data more than twofold across samples. Applied to single human cells, plexDIA quantified \~1,000 proteins per cell and achieved 98% data completeness within a plexDIA set while using \~5 minutes of active chromatography per cell. These results establish a general framework for increasing the throughput of sensitive and quantitative protein analysis.