The term proteoform describes all combinations of change in a protein, as elucidated through intact mass proteomics. Paleoproteomic studies have begun using digestion-free and top-down techniques to access information from ancient and historical remains. However, to discuss protein changes that uniquely occur to archaeological and paleontological proteomes as the result of diagenesis (i.e., physical and chemical change imparted by burial), a novel term is needed that both addresses issues of combinatorics and distinguishes diagenetic-specific alteration.
Significance: The term diagenetiform provides the opportunity to communicate clearly the sets of diagenetic changes found on preserved proteins. The diagenetiform nomenclature will allow for top-down paleoproteomic studies to accurately describe the total changes detected on ancient proteins.