Author(s): Huddleston MJ, Annan RS, Bean MF, Carr SA
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Abstract A mass spectrometry-based method that does not involve the use of radiolabeling was developed for selective detection of phosphopeptides in complex mixtures. Mixtures of phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated peptides at the low picomole level are analyzed by negative ion electrospray liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry using C-18 packed fused-silica columns (≤320-μm i.d.). Peptides and phosphopeptides in the chromatographic eluant undergo collision-induced dissociation in the free-jet expansion region prior to the mass analyzing quadrupole. Using relatively high collisional excitation potentials, phospho|peptides containing phosphoserine, phosphothreonine, and phosphotyrosine fragment to yield diagnostic ions at m/z 63 and 79 corresponding to PO2 (-); and PO3 (-), respectively. Chromatographic peaks containing phosphopeptides are indicated where these diagnostic ions maximize. The highest sensitivity for phosphopeptide detection is obtained using selected-ion monitoring for m/z 63 and 79. Full-scan mass spectra that exhibit the diagnostic phosphopeptide fragment ions, together with pseudomolecular ions, may be obtained by stepping the collisional excitation potential from a high value during the portion of each scan in which the low-mass-to-charge ratio diagnostic marker ions are being detected to a lower value while the upper mass-to-charge ratio range is being scanned. Good sensitivity for phosphopeptide detection was achieved using standard trifluoroacetic acid containing mobile phases for reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Data illustrating the selectivity and sensitivity of the approach are presented for mixtures of peptides and phosphopeptides containing the three commonly phosphorylated amino acids.
This article was published in J Am Soc Mass Spectrom
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology