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Can Purdue Tool for Quantitative Protein Analysis Outperform ICAT?

This update corrects a quote improperly attributed to Samir Julka. He did not say ICAT is "prohibitively expensive." Steven Gross, director of the mass spectrometry facility at CornellUniversity's WeillMedicalCollege, said ICQAT is "dirt cheap" compared to ICAT. Also, this update removes a statement made by Julka that compared ICQAT's sensitivity to ICAT. Julka said after the original story was published that his lab has not compared the two techniques side by side.


SAVANNAH, Ga., Feb. 8 (GenomeWeb News) - Researchers at Purdue University claim they have developed a new way to quantitatively analyze proteins, according to a presentation at the Association of Biomolecular Resources Facilities conference, held here this week.


The new method, called Isotope Coded Quaternary Amine Tags, or ICQAT, takes advantage of the fact that derivitized cysteine amino acids have a positive charge that can be retained by a strong cation exchanger.


The technique is also less expensive than the ICAT quantification method, according to at least one proteomics scientist.


Samir Julka, a graduate student in Fred Regnier's laboratory at PurdueUniversity, whose presentation at ABRF described ICQAT, said the ICQAT method has not been commercialized, but that his research group is considering commercializing it.


In the future, ICQAT may also be used to compare quantities of multiple samples, much like Applied Biosystems' iTRAQ, said Julka.


"We are currently working on four cysteine reagents with different masses which can be used for expression analysis," he said.


Asked to compare ICQAT with ICAT, which is licensed exclusively to ABI, Steven Gross, director of the mass spectrometry facility at Cornell University's Weill Medical College, said that if the Purdue researchers can get around ICAT's patenting, then the new method would be "dirt cheap" compared with ICAT.


"ICAT costs approximately $100 per sample pair," said Gross. "The expense of ICAT becomes prohibitive for many clinical studies, especially for low-abundance proteins. ... The ICQAT looks like it's a very easy synthesis. It looks like if [the Purdue researchers] can bust the existing [ICAT] patent, then ICQAT would be much cheaper."

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