Enhanced detection of multiply phosphorylated peptides and identification of their sites of modification

Antoine Fleitz, Edward Nieves, Carlos Madrid-Aliste, Sarah J. Fentress, L. David Sibley, Louis M. Weiss, Ruth Hogue Angeletti, Fa Yun Che

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Phosphorylation is an important post-translational modification that rapidly mediates many cellular events. A key to understanding the dynamics of the phosphoproteome is localization of the modification site(s), primarily determined using LC-MS/MS. A major technical challenge to analysis is the formation of phosphopeptide-metal ion complexes during LC which hampers phosphopeptide detection. We have devised a strategy that enhances analysis of phosphopeptides, especially multiply phosphorylated peptides. It involves treatment of the LC system with EDTA and 2D-RP/RP-nanoUPLC-MS/MS (high pH/low pH) analysis. A standard triphosphorylated peptide that could not be detected with 1D-RP-nanoUPLC-MS/MS, even if the column was treated with EDTA-Na 2 or if 25 mM EDTA-Na2 was added to the sample, was detectable at less than 100 fmol using EDTA-2D-RP/RP-nanoUPLC-MS/MS. Digests of α-casein and ß-casein were analyzed by EDTA-1D-RP-nanoUPLC, 2D-RP/RP-nanoUPLC, and EDTA-2D-RP/RP-nanoUPLC to compare their performance in phosphopeptide analysis. With the first two approaches, no tri- and tetraphosphopeptides were identified in either α- or ß-casein sample. With the EDTA-2D-RP/RP approach, 13 mono-, 6 di-, and 3 triphosphopeptides were identified in the α-casein sample, while 19 mono-, 8 di-, 4 tri-, and 3 tetraphosphopeptides were identified in the ß-casein sample. Using EDTA-2D-RP/RP-nanoUPLC-MS/MS to examine 500 μg of a human foreskin fibroblast cell lysate a total of 1,944 unique phosphopeptides from 1,087 unique phosphoproteins were identified, and 2,164 unique phosphorylation sites were confidently localized (Ascore ≥20). Of these sites 79% were mono-, 20% di-, and ∼1% were tri- and tetraphosphopeptides, and 78 novel phosphorylation sites in human proteins were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8566-8576
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 17 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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