Cutting-edge proteomics techniques nowadays allow for the quantification of several thousands of proteins within a single experiment. This can, for example, be achieved by labeling living cells with amino acids containing light and heavy isotopes, respectively. The differentially labeled amino acids are incorporated into the proteins synthesized within the cells. Via mass spectrometry, the relative quantities of a given protein with incorporated light and heavy isotope-labeled amino acids are then determined, so that it can be discerned, which of the two samples under comparison contains higher amounts of the respective protein.
UNIT 8 aims at identifying new potential markers for cancer stem cells as well as novel candidate drug targets by performing differential screens that compare, e.g., the membrane- and phospho-proteomes. This includes creating novel means for isolating cancer stem cells positive for otherwise non-accessible markers and synthetic stable cancer stem cells developed in UNIT 4.