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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Using mass spec to find out how many protein-encoding genes we have

One of the other exam questions is based on an experiment students did with an enzyme they purified. They digested the enzyme with trypsin and then analyzed the peptides by mass spectrometry. They were able to match the peptides to the sequence databases to identify the protein and the species. The exam question is ...
Nobody knows for sure how many functional protein-encoding genes there are in the human genome. About 20,000 potential protein-encoding genes have been identified based on open reading frames and sequence conservation but it is not known if all of them are actually expressed. How can you use Mass Spec to find out how many functional protein encoding genes we have? [see the cover of Nature from May 29, 2014: click on about the cover]

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