Rappsilber Laboratory, Insitute of Biotechnology, Technical University Berlin, Germany
Q: WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR LAB’S RESEARCH?
A: The Rappsilber Laboratory is interested in studying the machinery of life, in particular protein structures and their interactions in living cells. Determining protein behaviour is crucial for developing new drugs or understanding terrible diseases such as cancer. We are doing this by developing state-of-the-art methods and new chemical tools for crosslinking mass spectrometry (crosslinking-MS), including new crosslinker reagents and crosslinking chemistry. Working on the chemistry-biology interface, our work encompasses chemical synthesis of peptides, fluorophore tagged sensors, peptide- and protein-reactive crosslinking reagents and bioorthogonal metal catalysts.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR PREVIOUS WORKFLOW OR CHALLENGES?
A: This year (2020) we built a chemistry lab from scratch, here at the Institute of Biotechnology (TU Berlin). We had the opportunity to really think about our work flow requirements and create the most efficient chemical synthesis pipeline for a modern, 21st century, small chemistry laboratory. However, we are a satellite campus, located more than 10 km from the Institute of Chemistry, which meant that we were constrained by the lack of usual chemistry infrastructure. One of the major challenges that we faced here, is that without chemistry-specific analytical capability, we are working almost blind. Every step of chemical synthesis, including reaction monitoring, work-up, purification and final product characterisation required an exhausting and disruptive journey across Berlin!
Q: WHY DID YOU INCORPORATE THE EXPRESSION CMS INTO YOUR LABORATORY?
A: We operate an advanced proteomics facility, with cutting edge, high-precision, high sensitivity mass spectrometers for analysing extremely complex peptide mixtures. But a chemist needs a workhorse, not a Formula 1 car. The Advion expression® CMS was a no-brainer. We needed a system that is versatile, compact, easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain (~10 minute calibration), robust and allows fast analysis (result in <30 seconds). This system is all of this, but furthermore it is a delight to use. The ASAP® Direct Analysis Probe works fantastically well for analysis of solids and liquids. Switching between APCI and ESI is so quick and easy. The Plate Express® system makes it a joy to identify reaction products directly from TLC plates, greatly simplifying subsequent purifications. The Plate Express also works really well for identifying synthesised peptides from TLC spots. The expression CMS sits at the heart of our chemistry lab and workflow.
Q: WHO WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO PURCHASE THE EXPRESSION CMS?
A: We would recommend the Advion expression CMS to literally any research laboratory, big or small. The versatility of the system is truly impressive.