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Anal Biochem. 1999 Sep 10;273(2):192-203.

Protein cross-links: universal isolation and characterization by isotopic derivatization and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.

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  • 1School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4935, USA.


A general method of unequivocally identifying and obtaining sequence information on cross-linked peptides derived by proteolytic digestion of cross-linked proteins has been developed. The method is based on isotopic labeling of alpha-amino groups with 2, 4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Proteins containing covalent cross-link(s) are reductively methylated to convert lysine residues to dimethyl lysine. The methylated protein is partially hydrolyzed and the liberated alpha-amino termini are derivatized with an equimolar mixture of DNFB and [(2)H(3)]DNFB. Dinitrophenyl (DNP)-labeled peptides may be fractionated into mono- and bis-DNP pools by chromatography on phenyl media. The bis-DNP peptides are further separated by reverse-phase HPLC and analyzed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The molecular ions of cross-linked peptides are unambiguously identified as 1:2:1 triplets in the mass spectrum resulting from the binomial distribution of isotopic label in the bis-DNP derivative. Sequence information can be elucidated from the unique product ion patterns which are generated from in-source fragmentation at an elevated cone voltage. Analysis of the disulfide cross-linked peptide (VTCG)(2) was undertaken as a proof of concept and the generality of the method was demonstrated by isolating and sequencing the isopeptide bond of polyubiquitin.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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