C-terminal protein characterization by mass spectrometry: Isolation of c-terminal fragments from cyanogen bromide-cleaved protein

Heinz Nika, David H. Hawke, Ruth Hogue Angeletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A sample preparation method for protein C-terminal peptide isolation from cyanogen bromide (CNBr) digests has been developed. In this strategy, the analyte was reduced and carboxyamidomethylated, followed by CNBr cleavage in a one-pot reaction scheme. The digest was then adsorbed on ZipTipC18 pipette tips for conjugation of the homoserine lactone-terminated peptides with 2,2'-dithiobis (ethylamine) dihydrochloride, followed by reductive release of 2-aminoethanethiol from the derivatives. The thiol-functionalized internal and N-terminal peptides were scavenged on activated thiol sepharose, leaving the C-terminal peptide in the flow-through fraction. The use of reversed-phase supports as a venue for peptide derivatization enabled facile optimization of the individual reaction steps for throughput and completeness of reaction. Reagents were replaced directly on the support, allowing the reactions to proceed at minimal sample loss. By this sequence of solid-phase reactions, the C-terminal peptide could be recognized uniquely in mass spectra of unfractionated digests by its unaltered mass signature. The use of the sample preparation method was demonstrated with low-level amounts of a whole, intact model protein. The C-terminal fragments were retrieved selectively and efficiently from the affinity support. The use of covalent chromatography for C-terminal peptide purification enabled recovery of the depleted material for further chemical and/or enzymatic manipulation. The sample preparation method provides for robustness and simplicity of operation and is anticipated to be expanded to gel-separated proteins and in a scaled-up format to high-throughput protein profiling in complex biological mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Aminolysis
  • C-terminomics
  • Covalent chromatography
  • Peptide
  • Serial solid-phase derivatization
  • ZipTipC18 pipette tips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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