AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Individuals at a high risk of type 2 diabetes demonstrate moderate impairments in glucose metabolism years before the clinical manifestation of type 2 diabetes, a state called 'prediabetes'. In order to elucidate the pathophysiological processes leading to type 2 diabetes, we aimed to identify protein biomarkers associated with prediabetes. METHODS: In a proteomics study, we used targeted selected reaction monitoring (SRM)-MS to quantify 23 candidate proteins in the plasma of 439 randomly selected men and women aged 47-76 years from the population-based German KORA F4 study. Cross-sectional associations of protein levels with prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance), type 2 diabetes, glucose levels in both the fasting state and 2 h after an OGTT, fasting insulin and insulin resistance were investigated using regression models adjusted for technical covariables, age, sex, BMI, smoking, alcohol intake, physical inactivity, actual hypertension, triacylglycerol levels, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels. RESULTS: Mannan-binding lectin serine peptidase 1 (MASP1; OR per SD 1.77 [95% CI 1.26, 2.47]), thrombospondin 1 (THBS1; OR per SD 1.55 [95% CI 1.16, 2.07]) and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D1 (GPLD1; OR per SD 1.40 [95% CI 1.01, 1.94]) were positively associated with prediabetes, and apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV; OR per SD 0.75 [95% CI 0.56, 1.00]) was inversely associated with prediabetes. MASP1 was positively associated with fasting and 2 h glucose levels. ApoA-IV was inversely and THBS1 was positively associated with 2 h glucose levels. MASP1 associations with prediabetes and fasting glucose resisted Bonferroni correction. Type 2 diabetes associations were partly influenced by glucose-lowering medication. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We discovered novel and independent associations of prediabetes and related traits with MASP1, and some evidence for associations with THBS1, GPLD1 and ApoA-IV, suggesting a role for these proteins in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.