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Depletion of highly abundant proteins is an approved step in blood plasma analysis by mass spectrometry (MS). In this study, we explored a precipitation and differential protein solubility approach as a fractionation strategy for abundant protein removal from plasma. Total proteins from plasma were precipitated with 90% saturated ammonium sulfate, followed by differential solubilization in 55% and 35% saturated ammonium sulfate solutions. Using a four hour liquid chromatography (LC) gradient and an LTQ-Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer, a total of 167 and 224 proteins were identified from the 55% and 35% ammonium sulfate fractions, whereas 235 proteins were found in the remaining protein fractions with at least two unique peptides. SDS-PAGE and exclusive total spectrum counts from LC-MS/MS analyses clearly showed that majority of the abundant plasma proteins were solubilized in 55% and 35% ammonium sulfate solutions, indicating that the remaining protein fraction is of potential interest for identification of less abundant plasma proteins. Serum albumin, serotransferrin, alpha-1-antitrypsin and transthyretin were the abundant proteins that were highly enriched in 55% ammonium sulfate fractions. Immunoglobulins, complement system proteins, and apolipoproteins were among other abundant plasma proteins that were enriched in 35% ammonium sulfate fractions. In the remaining protein fractions a total of 40 unique proteins were identified of which, 32 proteins were identified with at least 10 exclusive spectrum counts. According to PeptideAtlas, 9 of these 32 proteins were estimated to be present at low μg ml(-1) (0.12-1.9 μg ml(-1)) concentrations in the plasma, and 17 at low ng ml(-1) (0.1-55 ng ml(-1)) range.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





8109 - 8117


Ammonium Sulfate, Blood Chemical Analysis, Blood Proteins, Humans, Mass Spectrometry, Solubility