Integrated multifunctional microfluidics for automated proteome analyses

John K Osiri, Hamed Shadpour, Małgorzata A Witek, Steven A Soper
Topics in Current Chemistry 2011, 304: 261-94
Proteomics is a challenging field for realizing totally integrated microfluidic systems for complete proteome processing due to several considerations, including the sheer number of different protein types that exist within most proteomes, the large dynamic range associated with these various protein types, and the diverse chemical nature of the proteins comprising a typical proteome. For example, the human proteome is estimated to have >10(6) different components with a dynamic range of >10(10). The typical processing pipeline for proteomics involves the following steps: (1) selection and/or extraction of the particular proteins to be analyzed; (2) multidimensional separation; (3) proteolytic digestion of the protein sample; and (4) mass spectral identification of either intact proteins (top-down proteomics) or peptide fragments generated from proteolytic digestions (bottom-up proteomics). Although a number of intriguing microfluidic devices have been designed, fabricated and evaluated for carrying out the individual processing steps listed above, work toward building fully integrated microfluidic systems for protein analysis has yet to be realized. In this chapter, information will be provided on the nature of proteomic analysis in terms of the challenges associated with the sample type and the microfluidic devices that have been tested to carry out individual processing steps. These include devices such as those for multidimensional electrophoretic separations, solid-phase enzymatic digestions, and solid-phase extractions, all of which have used microfluidics as the functional platform for their implementation. This will be followed by an in-depth review of microfluidic systems, which are defined as units possessing two or more devices assembled into autonomous systems for proteome processing. In addition, information will be provided on the challenges involved in integrating processing steps into a functional system and the approaches adopted for device integration. In this chapter, we will focus exclusively on the front-end processing microfluidic devices and systems for proteome processing, and not on the interface technology of these platforms to mass spectrometry due to the extensive reviews that already exist on these types of interfaces.

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