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  • Agilent to Develop Protein Research Technology
Jul 2003
PALO ALTO, Calif., July 17 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. has announced a cooperative research and development agreement with Battelle Memorial Institute -- the operating and management contractor for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory located in Richland, Wash. -- to further develop an artificial neural network technology for protein identification that was developed at PNNL and to adapt it to Agilent liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer (LC/MS) systems. The work is expected to ultimately provide protein researchers with a method of protein identification that increases statistical confidence.

Protein identification is frequently accomplished by chemically digesting (fragmenting) proteins then using LC/MS technology to separate and analyze the resulting peptide fragments. The PNNL-developed breakthrough technology uses artificial neural networks to predict how long it takes individual peptides to emerge, or elute, from the liquid chromatograph. This predictive power greatly increases confidence in the LC/MS identification of the peptides and original proteins. Tests conducted in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE scientific user facility located at PNNL, have shown the predicted retention times match actual retention times to within approximately 3 percent.

"The elution prediction model adds another significant metric to peptide identification which can increase accuracy or alternatively, reduce the need for high-mass measurement accuracy in mass spectrometry proteomics," said Richard Smith, a laboratory fellow at PNNL. "We are excited about the prospect of further developing and demonstrating the method on the standardized commercial LC/MS platform to be supplied by Agilent."

PNNL plans to use funding provided by the DOE's Office of Science, Life Sciences Division to demonstrate the peptide retention time capability on Agilent's instruments. Under the agreement, Agilent has the option to negotiate an exclusive license for the patent-pending, Battelle-owned background intellectual property and any inventions that may arise from it.

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mass spectrometer
A device used to measure the masses and relative concentrations of atoms and molecules. It utilizes the Lorentz force generated by external magnetic field on a moving charged particle, in which the particles are deflected by the magnetic field according to their masses. Once deflected, the particles are detected and recorded electrically to provide a mass spectrum of the input beam of ions. 
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