Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Artifacts and unassigned masses encountered in peptide mass mapping.

PMID 12458019


In peptide mass mapping of isolated proteins, a significant number of the observed mass spectral peaks are often uninterpreted. These peaks derive from a number of sources: errors in the genome that give rise to incorrect peptide mass predictions, undocumented post-translational modifications, sample handling-induced modifications, contaminants in the sample, non-standard protein cleavage sites, and non-protein components of the sample. In a study of the stalk organelle of Caulobacter crescentus, roughly one-third (782/2215) of all observed masses could not be assigned to the proteins identified in the gel spots (Karty et al., J. Proteome Res., 1 (2002) 325). By interpreting these masses, this work illuminates a number of phenomena that may arise in the course of peptide mass mapping of electrophoretically separated proteins and presents results from a number of related studies.