Halogenated peptides as internal standards (H-PINS): Introduction of an MS-based internal standard set for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

Hamid Mirzaei, Mi Youn Brusniak, Lukas N. Mueller, Simon Letarte, Julian D. Watts, Ruedi Aebersold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


As the application for quantitative proteomics in the life sciences has grown in recent years, so has the need for more robust and generally applicable methods for quality control and calibration. The reliability of quantitative proteomics is tightly linked to the reproducibility and stability of the analytical platforms, which are typically multicomponent (e.g. sample preparation, multistep separations, and mass spectrometry) with individual components contributing unequally to the overall system reproducibility. Variations in quantitative accuracy are thus inevitable, and quality control and calibration become essential for the assessment of the quality of the analyses themselves. Toward this end, the use of internal standards cannot only assist in the detection and removal of outlier data acquired by an irreproducible system (quality control) but can also be used for detection of changes in instruments for their subsequent performance and calibration. Here we introduce a set of halogenated peptides as internal standards. The peptides are custom designed to have properties suitable for various quality control assessments, data calibration, and normalization processes. The unique isotope distribution of halogenated peptides makes their mass spectral detection easy and unambiguous when spiked into complex peptide mixtures. In addition, they were designed to elute sequentially over an entire aqueous to organic LC gradient and to have m/z values within the commonly scanned mass range (300-1800 Da). In a series of experiments in which these peptides were spiked into an enriched N-glycosite peptide fraction (i.e. from formerly N-glycosylated intact proteins in their deglycosylated form) isolated from human plasma, we show the utility and performance of these halogenated peptides for sample preparation and LC injection quality control as well as for retention time and mass calibration. Further use of the peptides for signal intensity normalization and retention time synchronization for selected reaction monitoring experiments is also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1934-1946
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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