Product(s) used in this publication: Absolutely Quantified Peptides SpikeTides™ TQL
Examining tissue-specific expression and the measurement of protein abundance are important steps when assessing the performance of genetically engineered crops. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry offers many advantages over traditional methods for protein quantitation, especially when dealing with transmembrane proteins that are often difficult to express or generate antibodies against. In this study, discovery proteomics was used to detect the seven transgenic membrane-bound enzymes from the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) biosynthetic pathway that had been engineered into canola. Subsequently, a targeted LC-MS/MS method for absolute quantitation was developed and applied to the simultaneous measurement of the seven DHA biosynthetic pathway enzymes in genetically modified canola grown across three sites. The results of this study demonstrated that the enzymatic proteins that drive the production of DHA using seed-specific promoters were detected only in mature and developing seed of DHA canola. None of the DHA biosynthesis pathway proteins were detected in wild-type canola planted in the same site or in the non-seed tissues of the transgenic canola, irrespective of the sampling time or the tissues tested. This study describes a streamlined approach to simultaneously measure multiple membrane-bound proteins in planta.