AlacatDesigner─Computational Design of Peptide Concatamers for Protein Quantitation

Martin Rusilowicz, David W Newman, Declan R Creamer, James Johnson, Kareena Adair, Victoria M Harman, Chris M Grant, Robert J. Beynon, Simon J Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Protein quantitation via mass spectrometry relies on peptide proxies for the parent protein from which abundances are estimated. Owing to the variability in signal from individual peptides, accurate absolute quantitation usually relies on the addition of an external standard. Typically, this involves stable isotope-labeled peptides, delivered singly or as a concatenated recombinant protein. Consequently, the selection of the most appropriate surrogate peptides and the attendant design in recombinant proteins termed QconCATs are challenges for proteome science. QconCATs can now be built in a "a-la-carte" assembly method using synthetic biology: ALACATs. To assist their design, we present "AlacatDesigner", a tool that supports the peptide selection for recombinant protein standards based on the user's target protein. The user-customizable tool considers existing databases, occurrence in the literature, potential post-translational modifications, predicted miscleavage, predicted divergence of the peptide and protein quantifications, and ionization potential within the mass spectrometer. We show that peptide selections are enriched for good proteotypic and quantotypic candidates compared to empirical data. The software is freely available to use either via a web interface AlacatDesigner, downloaded as a Desktop application or imported as a Python package for the command line interface or in scripts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-604
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023


  • Peptides/chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Software
  • Proteome/metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins


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