Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

An optimized matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization sample preparation using a liquid matrix, 3-aminoquinoline/α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid, for phosphopeptides.

PMID 22976212


A liquid matrix, 3-aminoquinoline (3-AQ)/α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA), introduced by Kolli et al. in 1996 for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), has been reported for peptides and proteins, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides, and glycopeptides. However, it has not been validated for phosphopeptides. We optimized sample preparation using 3-AQ/CHCA for phosphopeptides. The sensitivity of six phosphopeptide species as isolated or in digests was systematically evaluated by using MALDI-quadropole ion trap (QIT)-time of flight (TOF) MS in positive and negative ion modes, and compared with the conventional methods using a solid matrix, 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,5-DHB). The sensitivity of mono- and tetraphosphopeptides was improved 10- to 10 000-fold with the optimized preparation method using 3-AQ/CHCA compared with the conventional methods using 2,5-DHB. Improvement by 3-AQ/CHCA itself was 10-fold. Adding ammonium dihydrogen phosphate or an analyte solvent composition was also effectively improved the sensitivity. Phosphopeptides in isolated form or in digests were detected at femto- or subfemtomole levels. Sensitivity of phosphopeptides was improved by the optimized sample preparation method using 3-AQ/CHCA compared with the conventional method using 2,5-DHB. The validation of 3-AQ/CHCA for phosphopeptides was systematically confirmed, expanding the potential of this matrix to phosphoproteomics.