Shot-gun proteomics: Why thousands of unidentified signals matter

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Mass spectrometry-based proteomics has become a constitutional part of the multi-omics toolbox in yeast research, advancing fundamental knowledge of molecular processes and guiding decisions in strain and product developmental pipelines. Nevertheless, post-translational protein modifications (PTMs) continue to challenge the field of proteomics. PTMs are not directly encoded in the genome; therefore, they require a sensitive analysis of the proteome itself. In yeast, the relevance of post-translational regulators has already been established, such as for phosphorylation, which can directly affect the reaction rates of metabolic enzymes. Whereas, the selective analysis of single modifications has become a broadly employed technique, the sensitive analysis of a comprehensive set of modifications still remains a challenge. At the same time, a large number of fragmentation spectra in a typical shot-gun proteomics experiment remain unidentified. It has been estimated that a good proportion of those unidentified spectra originates from unexpected modifications or natural peptide variants. In this review, recent advancements in microbial proteomics for unrestricted protein modification discovery are reviewed, and recent research integrating this additional layer of information to elucidate protein interaction and regulation in yeast is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfoz088
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Mass spectrometry
  • post-translational modifications
  • protein regulation
  • unrestricted modification search
  • yeast proteomics


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