Mark Twain: How to fathom the depth of your pet proteome

Pier Giorgio Righetti, Egisto Boschetti, Giovanni Candiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present review highlights recent progresses in the technique of combinatorial peptide ligand libraries (CPPL), a methodology that has much to offer for the detection of low- to very-low abundance proteins (nanograms/mL scale and below) in any proteome. In particular, advances in exploration of the urinary, plasma and tissue proteomes are discussed and evaluated. It is shown that when treating biological fluids, such as plasma, with CPLLs, the detection sensitivity, which in the control only reaches 10. ng/mL, can be enhanced to as high as 10. pg/mL, with an increment of sensitivity of three orders of magnitude. The possibility of using CPLLs as a two-dimensional pre-fractionation of any proteome is also evaluated: on the charge axis, CPLL capture can be implemented at no less than three different pH values (4.0, 7.2 and 9.3), thus permitting a capture of proteinaceous analytes bearing a net positive or net negative charge, respectively. When capture is performed in the absence of salts or at high levels of salts (of the Hofmeister series), one can favor the capture of hydrophilic vs. hydrophobic proteins, respectively. This would thus be a genuine 2D protocol, working on orthogonal separation principles (charge vs. hydrophobicity). As the horizon of CPLLs is expanding and its use is exponentially growing, we expect major breakthroughs in, e.g., biomarker discovery, a field that has suffered a decade of failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4783-4791
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2012


  • Hexapeptide ligands
  • Low-abundance proteome
  • Peptide libraries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics


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