Proteome Systems touts chemical printer results

By Melissa Trudinger
Monday, 12 August, 2002

Sydney-based platform technology company Proteome Systems has announced the first results from its chemical inkjet printer (ChIP) program, with a paper published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

According to the company's chief scientific officer, Dr Andrew Gooley, the system provides a new approach to the analysis of proteins. The ChIP uses piezoelectric pulsing and microfluidics to 'print' nanolitre amounts of fluid onto individual protein spots immobilised on a membrane.

This allows the chemistry to be performed directly on the immobilised protein array, so that valuable samples can be archived and multiple analyses be performed.

"Each arrayed protein becomes an archive for multiple analyses, either using enzymatic treatment [eg. peptide mass fingerprinting, N-glycoform analysis] or chemical cleavage [eg. O-glycoform analysis] and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis," Gooley said in a statement. "Chip-based analysis is also possible by printing a matrix of antibodies onto the arrayed proteins, followed by fluorescence detection."

CEO Dr Keith Williams said the results represented the prelude to a commercial prototype. "This is the first proteomics technology to allow archiving and multiple analysis of precious samples, including those obtained from clinical samples," he said.

Williams said the chemical printing technology, now being commercialised by Proteome Systems and Japanese instrument giant Shimadzu, would be an integral part of a platform that would provide a new dimension for high-throughput proteomics.

Proteome Systems expects the first instruments to be available for evaluation by 2003.

"The program is moving very fast," Williams said. "When we initially set out to do it we had no idea we would be designing an instrument - it was classical fingerprinting stuff," he said. "In the meantime, we've realised that we could use it in a chip context as well."

The paper, 'High-throughput peptide mass fingerprinting and protein microarray analysis using chemical printing strategies', describes the detection of low abundant, alkaline proteins from whole human platelet extracts and subsequent analysis by a variety of chemistries.

A method for microdispensing multiple serum samples in a quantitative micro-ELISA format to allow rapid screening of protein macroarrays for pathogen-derived antigens is also described.

Additional reporting by Iain Scott

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