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Method development for the comprehensive analysis of post translational modifications by mass spectometry Hoffman, Michael David


Signal Transduction is mediated by protein complexes whose spatial- and temporal-distribution, composition and function within cells are often regulated by different post-translational modifications (PTM). As PTMs add or subtract a specific mass difference to a protein, mass spectrometry becomes very amenable for modification analysis. These modifications have conventionally been monitored by fragmenting the modified protein or peptide by collision induced dissociation (CID) within the mass spectrometer, and then screening for the characteristic neutral fragment or fragment ion (marker ion), which is particular to the modification in question. Unfortunately, there are two major issues with respect to the traditional mass spectrometric analysis of PTMs: (1) as there are over 300 known types of modifications, the characteristic fragmentation of only a fraction of these modifications has been studied and (2) the traditional mass spectrometric approaches can only monitor these modifications sequentially, and thus comprehensive modification analysis would be unfeasible considering the breadth of PTMs. The following work aims to address these issues by (1) analyzing PTMs that have never been characterized mass spectrometrically and (2) developing a multiplexed technique for comprehensive PTM monitoring by simultaneously screening for all known characteristic fragments. With respect to the first issue, the characteristic fragmentation of lipid modifications and HNO-induced modifications was investigated. The most prevalent indicator(s) of the modification within the mass spectra are as follows: fragmentation of N-terminal myristoylated peptides produced marker ions at 240 and 268 Th, fragmentation of cysteine farnesylated peptides produced a marker ion at 205 Th and a neutral fragment of 204 Da, and fragmentation of cysteine palmitoylated peptides produced a neutral fragment of 272 Th. For HNO-induced modifications, fragmentation of the sulfinamide- and sulfinic acid-modified peptides produced a neutral fragment of 65 Da and 66 Da, respectively. With respect to the second issue, a multiplexed technique for monitoring modifications that fragment as neutral losses, termed Multiple Neutral Loss Monitoring (MNM), has been developed, successfully validated, and then shown to be the most sensitive approach for PTM analysis. MNM, combined with a second multiplexed approach, targeted Multiple Precursor Ion Monitoring, has been used to provide a comprehensive PTM analysis.

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