Enhancing top-down proteomics of brain tissue with FAIMS
Proteomic investigations of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have provided valuable insights into neurodegenerative disorders. Thus far, these investigations have largely been restricted to bottom-up approaches, hindering the degree to which one can characterize a protein’s “intact” state. Top-down proteomics (TDP) overcomes this limitation, however it is typically limited to observing only the most abundant proteoforms and of a relatively small size. Therefore, offline fractionation techniques are commonly used to reduce sample complexity, limiting throughput. A higher throughput alternative is online fractionation, such as gas phase high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS). Utilizing a high complexity sample derived from Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue, we describe how the addition of FAIMS to TDP can robustly improve the depth of proteome coverage. For example, implementation of FAIMS at -50 compensation voltage (CV) more than doubled the mean number of non-redundant proteoforms observed (1,833 ± 17, n = 3), compared to without (754 ± 35 proteoforms). We also found FAIMS can influence the transmission of proteoforms and their charge envelopes based on their size. Importantly, FAIMS enabled the identification of intact amyloid beta (Aß) proteoforms, including the aggregation-prone Aß1-42 variant which is strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease.