MaxQuant.Live enables global targeting of more than 25,000 peptides

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Christoph Wichmann, Florian Meier, Sebastian Virreira Winter, Andreas-David Brunner, Jürgen Cox, Matthias Mann

Mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics is often performed in a shotgun format, in which as many peptide precursors as possible are selected from full or MS1 scans so that their fragment spectra can be recorded in MS2 scans. While achieving great proteome depths, shotgun proteomics cannot guarantee that each precursor will be fragmented in each run. In contrast, targeted proteomics aims to reproducibly and sensitively record a restricted number of precursor/fragment combinations in each run, based on pre-scheduled mass-to-charge and retention time windows. Here we set out to unify these two concepts by a global targeting approach in which an arbitrary number of precursors of interest are detected in real-time, followed by standard fragmentation or advanced peptide-specific analyses. We made use of a fast application programming interface to a quadrupole Orbitrap instrument and real-time recalibration in mass, retention time and intensity dimensions to predict precursor identity. MaxQuant.Live is freely available ( and has a graphical user interface to specify many pre-defined data acquisition strategies. Acquisition speed is as fast as with the vendor software and the power of our approach is demonstrated with the acquisition of breakdown curves for hundreds of precursors of interest. We also uncover precursors that are not even visible in MS1 scans, using elution time prediction based on the auto-adjusted retention time alone. Finally, we successfully recognized and targeted more than 25,000 peptides in single LC-MS runs. Global targeting combines the advantages of two classical approaches in MS-based proteomics, while greatly expanding the analytical toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)982-994
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Published under license by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

ID: 213324635