Journal of separation science vol:31 issue:3 pages:427-445
MS is currently one of the most important analytical techniques in biological and medical research. ESI and MALDI launched the field of MS into biology. The performance of mass spectrometers increased tremendously over the past decades. Other technological advances increased the analytical power of biological MS even more. First, the advent of the genome projects allowed an automated analysis of mass spectrometric data. Second, improved separation techniques, like nanoscale HPLC, are essential for MS analysis of biomolecules. The recent progress in bioinformatics is the third factor that accelerated the biochemical analysis of macromolecules. The first part of this review will introduce the basics of these techniques. The field that integrates all these techniques to identify endogenous peptides is called peptidomics and will be discussed in the last section. This integrated approach aims at identifying all the present peptides in a cell, organ or organism (the peptidome). Today, peptidomics is used by several fields of research. Special emphasis will be given to the identification of neuropeptides, a class of short proteins that fulfil several important intercellular signalling functions in every animal. MS imaging techniques and biomarker discovery will also be discussed briefly.