Proteins play very important
roles in all types of organisms. They can act as enzymes, catalysts, oxygen
carriers, structure building blocks, among many other possible roles. Normal
protein function results of a combination of amino acid sequence, 3-D structure
and sometimes aggregation with other proteins or biomolecules. If sequence
(thus often structure) is altered, protein function changes, possibly causing
diseases or other problems.
Over the past twenty years, we have been interested in characterizing
glycoproteins from several sources, using mass spectrometry as our main
analytical tool. Because proteins in cells always occur in very complex
mixtures, preliminary steps such as electrophoresis and chromatography are
often required in sample preparation. The mass spectrometer in our laboratory
is equipped with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), and we
also have HPLC systems for sample preparation.
We have projects on the characterization of antibodies and other glycoproteins, we work in collaboration with medical
researchers, microbiologists, biochemists and government researchers. We also
analyze samples as a service to our Department and to the scientific community.