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

Mass spectral characterization of organophosphate-labeled, tyrosine-containing peptides: characteristic mass fragments and a new binding motif for organophosphates.

PMID 19762289


We have identified organophosphorus agent (OP)-tyrosine adducts on 12 different proteins labeled with six different OP. Labeling was achieved by treating pure proteins with up to 40-fold molar excess of OP at pH 8-8.6. OP-treated proteins were digested with trypsin, and peptides were separated by HPLC. Fragmentation patterns for 100 OP-peptides labeled on tyrosine were determined in the mass spectrometer. The goals of the present work were (1) to determine the common features of the OP-reactive tyrosines, and (2) to describe non-sequence MSMS fragments characteristic of OP-tyrosine peptides. Characteristic ions at 272 and 244 amu for tyrosine-OP immonium ions were nearly always present in the MSMS spectrum of peptides labeled on tyrosine by chlorpyrifos-oxon. Characteristic fragments also appeared from the parent ions that had been labeled with diisopropylfluorophosphate (216 amu), sarin (214 amu), soman (214 amu) or FP-biotin (227, 312, 329, 691 and 708 amu). In contrast to OP-reactive serines, which lie in the consensus sequence GXSXG, the OP-reactive tyrosines have no consensus sequence. Their common feature is the presence of nearby positively charged residues that activate the phenolic hydroxyl group. The significance of these findings is the recognition of a new binding motif for OP to proteins that have no active site serine. Modified peptides are difficult to find when the OP bears no radiolabel and no tag. The characteristic MSMS fragment ions are valuable because they are identifiers for OP-tyrosine, independent of the peptide.

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