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Proteomics. 2005 Jan;5(1):55-66.

Peptide mass fingerprinting by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry of proteins detected by immunostaining on nitrocellulose.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec J1H 5N4, Canada.


We have developed an approach that allows peptide mass mapping by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-mass spectrometry of proteins visualized on a nitrocellulose membrane by immunochemical detection. Proteins are separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), electroblotted onto a nitrocellulose membrane and after blocking with a nonprotein-containing polymer such as polyvinylpyrrolidone 40 (PVP-40) or Tween 20, the proteins are stained with fount India ink. After incubation with primary and, if required, secondary peroxidase-coupled antibodies, immunochemically reactive proteins can be visualized using conventional enhanced chemiluminescence detection and assigned to the India ink-stained membrane by simple superposition. The proteins of interest are excised, submitted to "on-membrane" cleavage and the peptides are analyzed by mass spectrometry. Protein-based blocking reagents normally used in standard immunodetection protocols, such as skimmed milk, can be employed. We have obtained high-quality mass spectra of bovine serum albumin (BSA) detected on an immunoblot with an estimated amount of 100 fmol applied onto the gel, indicating the sensitivity of the present method. In addition, the approach is demonstrated with two other commercially available proteins, a serum protein, the successful identification of a tyrosine phosphorylated protein from total rat liver homogenate and serine phosphorylated proteins from an EcR 293 nuclear extract separated by two-dimensional (2-D) SDS-PAGE.

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