Author(s): Lu X, Zhu H
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Abstract This study describes a new protein digestion protocol in which a variety of detergents can be used to solubilize membrane proteins and facilitate trypsin digestion with higher efficiency. In this protocol, proteins are dissolved in solutions containing various detergents and directly incorporated into a polyacrylamide gel matrix without electrophoresis. Detergents are subsequently eliminated from the gel matrix while proteins are still immobilized in the gel matrix. After in-gel digestion of proteins, LC-MS/MS is used to analyze the extracted peptides for protein identification. The uniqueness of the protocol is that it allows usage of a variety of detergents in the starting solution without interfering with LC-MS/MS analysis. We hereby demonstrate that different detergents, including ionic SDS, non-ionic Triton X-100 and n-octyl beta-d-glucopyranoside, and zwitterionic CHAPS, can be used to achieve maximum solubilization of membrane proteins with minimal interference with LC-MS/MS analysis. Enhanced digestions, i.e. improved number and intensity of detected peptides, are also demonstrated for digestion-resistant proteins such as myoglobin, ubiquitin, and bacteriorhodopsin. An additional advantage of the Tube-Gel digestion protocol is that, even without electrophoresis separation, it allows high throughput analysis of complex protein mixtures when coupled with LC-MS/MS. The protocol was used to analyze a complex membrane protein mixture prepared from prostate cancer cells. The protocol involves only a single digestion and 2.5 h of LC-MS/MS analysis and identified 178 membrane proteins. In comparison, the same membrane fraction was resolved by SDS-PAGE, and 20 gel slices were excised and individually digested and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. The more elaborate effort demanded more than 50 h of LC-MS/MS analysis and identified 268 proteins. The new Tube-Gel digestion protocol is an alternative method for high throughput analysis of membrane proteins.
This article was published in Mol Cell Proteomics
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability