Learn more about what 2017 AOB Postdoc Elena Schroeter (North Carolina State University) has been working on:
The last two decades have seen a broad diversity of methods used to identify and/or characterize proteins in the archeological and paleontological record. Of these, mass spectrometry has opened an unprecedented window into the proteomes of the past, providing protein sequence data from long extinct animals as well as historical and prehistorical artifacts. Thus, application of mass spectrometry to fossil remains has become an attractive source for ancient molecular sequences with which to conduct evolutionary studies, particularly in specimens older than the proposed limit of amplifiable DNA detection. However, “mass spectrometry” covers a range of mass-based proteomic approaches, each of which utilize different technology and physical principles to generate unique types of data, with their own strengths and challenges. Here, we discuss a variety of mass spectrometry techniques that have or may be used to detect and characterize archeological and paleontological proteins, with a particular focus on MALDI-MS, LC–MS/MS, TOF-SIMS, and MSi. The main differences in their functionality, the types of data they produce, and the potential effects of diagenesis on their results are considered.
Timothy P. Cleland and Elena R. Schroeter
Journal of Proteome Research