In profiling “nextgen serology,” this article discusses the utility of mass spectrometry as a unified platform for both high-sensitivity confirmatory body fluid identification and sample prioritization to optimize downstream genetic analyses.
Comprehensive proteome mapping and comparative analyses by multidimensional high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) in combination with Q-TOF mass spectrometry have successfully identified and verified a series of protein “biomarker panels” for six body fluids (i.e., peripheral and menstrual blood, vaginal secretions, semen, urine, and saliva). Research and development activities have focused on the development of a multiplexed serological assay for the single-pass identification of these body fluids that all have clear forensic relevance. Using an automation platform for front-end sample preparation and a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer coupled to an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatograph (UHPLC) for mass analysis, the resulting workflow was designed to meet the demanding needs of a forensic operational environment. To date, a panel of robust and high-specificity biomarkers for human biological fluid identification has been developed with a run time of only 10 minutes. In conjunction with the automation platform, several hundred samples can be analyzed per week. Rigorous developmental validation studies and testing using casework-type samples have established the accuracy and sensitivity of the assay. The data generated demonstrate the utility of mass spectrometry as a unified platform for both high-sensitivity confirmatory body fluid identification and sample prioritization to optimize downstream genetic analyses. (Published abstract provided)
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