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Anal Chem. 2000 Feb 15;72(4):757-63.

Automated identification of amino acid sequence variations in proteins by HPLC/microspray tandem mass spectrometry.

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Department of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7730, USA.


Amino acid sequence variations resulting from single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified using a novel mass spectrometric method. This method obtains 99+% protein sequence coverage for human hemoglobin in a single LC-microspray tandem mass spectrometry (microLC-MS/MS) experiment. Tandem mass spectrometry data was analyzed using a modified version of the computer program SEQUEST to identify the sequence variations. Conditions of sample preparation, chromatographic separation, and data collection were optimized to correctly identify amino acid changes in six variants of human hemoglobin (Hb C, Hb E, Hb D-Los Angeles, Hb G-Philadelphia, Hb Hope, and Hb S). Hemoglobin proteins were isolated and purified, dehemed, (S)-carboxyami-domethylated, and then subjected to a combination proteolytic digestion to obtain a complex peptide mixture with multiple overlaps in sequence. Reversed-phase chromatographic separation of peptides was achieved on-line with MS utilizing a robust fritless microelectrospray interface. Tandem mass spectrometry was performed on an ion trap mass spectrometer using automated data-dependent MS/MS procedures. Tandem mass spectra were collected from the five most abundant ions in each scan using dynamic and isotopic exclusion to minimize redundancy. The spectra were analyzed by a version of the SEQUEST algorithm modified to identify amino acid substations resulting from SNPs.

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