Sample Collection in Clinical Proteomics – Proteolytic Activity Profile of Serum and Plasma


Jambunathan, K., & Galande, A. K. (2014). Sample collection in clinical proteomics – Proteolytic activity profile of serum and plasma. Proteomics – Clinical Applications, 8(5-6), 299-307. doi: 10.1002/prca.201300037


Proteolytic enzymes are promising diagnostic targets since they play key roles in diverse physiological processes and have been implicated in numerous human diseases. Human blood is a relatively noninvasive source for disease-specific protease biomarker detection and subsequent translation into diagnostic tests. However, the choice of serum or plasma, and more specifically, which anticoagulant to choose in plasma preparation, is important to address in the sample preparation phase of biomarker discovery.

Experimental design

We have previously utilized a combinatorial library of internally quenched fluorogenic probes to successfully map the global proteolytic profiles of various biological fluids. In this study, we utilized the platform to ascertain the impact of three commonly used anticoagulants (EDTA, heparin, and citrate) on the proteolytic activity profile of plasma and serum collected from a healthy Caucasian male.


Serum and plasma citrate were observed to be most proteolytically active, followed by plasma heparin and then plasma EDTA. Detailed analysis of the amino acid distribution of motifs cleaved and not cleaved by the samples offered significant insights in to active proteolytic components within them.

Conclusion and clinical relevance

Broad quantitative comparison of proteolytic profiles of these samples revealed several novel insights related to the differential substrate recognition of proteases present in these biological fluids.

© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Keywords: Anticoagulants; Combinatorial library; Fluorogenic probes; Plasma; Proteases; Serum.

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