PROCEED: A proteomic method for analysing plasma membrane proteins in living mammalian cells

Yaniv Bledi, Alex Inberg, Michal Linial*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Elucidating the profile of extracellular integral membrane proteins on live cells is vital for uncovering diagnostic disease biomarkers, therapeutic agents and drug receptor candidates. Exploring the realm of these proteins has proved to be an intricate task, mainly due to their hydrophobic nature and low abundance. Furthermore, the level of purity achieved by classical methods of purification and cell fractionation is insufficient. These restrictions pose major limitations for gel electrophoresis or chromatography-based separation techniques as the preferred methodologies for high-throughput analysis. Mass spectrometry has alleviated most of the difficulties in the identification of proteins in general; however, the Achilles' heel is still the isolation and separation of membrane proteins. In order to circumvent these limitations, a high-throughput platform has been devised, whereby proteases are applied to whole intact living cells. The resulting peptide fragments are then analysed by liquid chromatology followed by tandem MS (LC-MS/MS) technology to provide a detailed profile of proteins exposed on the surface of the plasma membrane. This kind of protein trimming offers the advantages that no prior manipulation or fractionation of the cell is required, contaminating proteins are remarkably reduced and the procedure is adequate for high-throughput purposes. This method, referred to as PROCEED (PROteome of Cell Exposed Extracellular Domains) is compatible with isotope labelling techniques which facilitate comparative protein expression studies. The methodology is extendable to all cell types including yeast and bacteria. Finally, the advantages and the limitations of PROCEED are discussed in view of other current technologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)254-265
Number of pages12
JournalBriefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Extracellular domain
  • High-throughput technology
  • Membrane topology
  • Proteomics
  • Spectrometry


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