SILAC relies on metabolic incorporation of labelled amino-acids. This can be impractical or expensive when dealing with pre-obtained samples or tissues from large organisms.
This is where super-SILAC comes in.
When analysing two related samples by mass spectrometry, it is always better to label and combine them as one. This corrects for many sample preparation and analysis biases and offers more complete data than independent analysis of the samples.
SILAC is one of the most popular labelling methods currently available. While it is feasible to SILAC-label small organisms such as worms, the larger an organism, the more expensive SILAC labelling becomes. Super-SILAC offers a cheaper alternative.
In super-SILAC, proteins from unlabelled biological samples are mixed with a SILAC-heavy labelled protein extract from a mix of reference cell-types. This allows accurate relative quantitation of sample-specific protein expression. However, unlike most standard SILAC setups, potential contaminants will have the same labelling status as your protein of interest.
As always with SILAC, this is limited to 3 channels. When multiple tissues are to be compared, Isobaric Labelling is more appropriate.
For more details about super-SILAC please see click here