Charting the proteomes of organisms with unsequenced genomes by MALDI-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry and BLAST homology searching.
MALDI-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry was applied to identify proteins from organisms whose genomes are still unknown. The identification was carried out by successively searching a sequence database-first with a peptide mass fingerprint, then with a packet of noninterpreted MS/MS spectra, and finally with peptide sequences obtained by automated interpretation of the MS/MS spectra. A "MS BLAST" homology searching protocol was developed to overcome specific limitations imposed by mass spectrometric data, such as the limited accuracy of de novo sequence predictions. This approach was tested in a small-scale proteomic project involving the identification of 15 bands of gel-separated proteins from the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris, whose genome has not yet been sequenced and which is only distantly related to other fungi.