Recent technical progress in sample preparation and liquid-phase separation-mass spectrometry for proteomic analysis of mass-limited samples
Mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics has enabled the identification and quantification of thousands of proteins from complex proteomes in a single experiment. However, its performance for mass-limited proteome samples (e.g., single cells and tissue samples from laser capture microdissection) is still not satisfying. The development of novel proteomic methodologies with better overall sensitivity is vital. During the last several years, substantial technical progress has been achieved for the preparation and liquid-phase separation-MS characterization of mass-limited proteome samples. In this review, we summarize recent technological progress of sample preparation, liquid chromatography (LC)-MS, capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE)-MS and MS instrumentation for bottom-up proteomics of trace biological samples, highlight some exciting applications of the novel techniques for single-cell proteomics, and provide a very brief perspective about the field at the end.