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Modified cysteine S-phosphopeptide standards for mass spectrometry-based proteomics.

Amino acids (2019-09-01)
Alicja K Buchowiecka

The regulatory role of protein cysteine phosphorylation is an under-researched area. The difficulty of accessing reference S-phosphorylated peptides (pCys-peptides) hampers progress in MS-driven cysteine phosphoproteomics, which requires targeted analytical procedures. This work describes an uncomplicated process for the conversion of disulfide-bridged protein into a complex model mixture of combinatorially modified peptides. Hen egg-white lysozyme was reduced with tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine (TCEP) followed by alkylation of cysteine with (3-acrylamidopropyl)trimethyl-ammonium chloride (APTA) and subsequent beta-elimination in aqueous Ba(OH)2 to yield modified polypeptides containing multiple dehydroalanine (Dha) residues. The conjugate addition of thiophosphoric acid to Dha residues followed by trypsinolysis led to numerous D/L phosphocysteine-containing peptides, which were identified by higher-energy collisional-dissociation tandem mass spectrometry (HCD-MS/MS). Our results show that some pCys-peptides produce prominent neutral losses of 80 Da, 98 Da and a weak 116 Da loss. These are similar to the neutral-loss triplets generated by phosphohistidine peptides.

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