Since I can remember I’ve always had a thing about collecting maps. I have folders full of free ones detailing places from childhood holidays, road atlases covering a large proportion of the globe, old maps (mainly of Yorkshire) and an entire wall in my home dedicated to detailing the world and the places I’ve visited within it.
I can’t explain exactly why I love maps so much, all I know is that I do! Maps of specific locations can hold special memories. A map of our home country can appeal to our pride and sense of belonging. Maps capture important historical time points. For me, I love the detail and accuracy of maps. They provide the bigger picture whilst maintaining accuracy of the important smaller details. You can count on and trust a map. A map provides all the information in a quantitative way, providing you with all the necessary guidance to get you to your desired destination. Elements on a map are arranged precisely where they are supposed to be.
When I find time to deviate from map collecting and carry out my day job, I often think about peptide mapping and how this technique shares similarities with traditional cartography. Conventional cartography development, much the same as peptide mapping, has relied upon technological advancements. Peptide mapping is now well established and ideally should resemble standard cartography in many other ways.
Peptide mapping should provide you with a comprehensive and accurate representation of the landscape of a particular protein. It needs to provide you with full sequence information, displaying each amino acid constituent and where they are located in relation to each other. More than this, peptide mapping should provide information on all possible post-translational modifications and sequence variants, illustrating the many possible routes in which a single protein molecule can be modified. The technique should be reproducible and reliable, guiding you to the correct answer each time.
With an optimized peptide mapping workflow, none of the above criteria should be compromised. For this to be the case a peptide mapping workflow requires simple and reproducible protein digestion, efficient peptide separations, high resolution accurate mass analysis and powerful workflow driven software.
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Peptide mapping shouldn’t be the challenge that people see it to be, comprehensive peptide maps should be available for everyone to achieve and COLLECT! Perhaps we love to look at maps because we know how to read them. Information on a map is organised in a way that is efficient and easy for us to understand. With upgraded peptide mapping workflows and intuitive software we should all be able to fully explore even the most complex biotherapeutic.
It’s time to explore. As the saying goes ‘Not all who wander are lost.’