We describe a protein quantification method called neutron encoding that exploits the subtle mass differences caused by nuclear binding energy variation in stable isotopes. These mass differences are synthetically encoded into amino acids and incorporated into yeast and mouse proteins via metabolic labeling. Mass spectrometry analysis with high mass resolution (>200,000) reveals the isotopologue-embedded peptide signals, permitting quantification. Neutron encoding will enable highly multiplexed proteome analysis with excellent dynamic range and accuracy.
Combining high-mass-accuracy mass spectrometry, isobaric tagging and software for multiplexed, large-scale protein quantification, we report deep proteomic coverage of four human embryonic stem cell and four induced pluripotent stem cell lines in biological triplicate. This 24-sample comparison resulted in a very large set of identified proteins and phosphorylation sites in pluripotent cells.