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J Proteome Res. 2008 Sep;7(9):3957-67. doi: 10.1021/pr800223m. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

Specific phosphopeptide enrichment with immobilized titanium ion affinity chromatography adsorbent for phosphoproteome analysis.

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National Chromatographic R&A Center, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian 116023, China.


The elucidation of protein post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, remains a challenging analytical task for proteomic studies. Since many of the proteins targeted for phosphorylation are low in abundance and phosphorylation is typically substoichiometric, a prerequisite for their identification is the specific enrichment of phosphopeptide prior to mass spectrometric analysis. Here, we presented a new method termed as immobilized titanium ion affinity chromatography (Ti (4+)-IMAC) for enriching phosphopeptides. A phosphate polymer, which was prepared by direct polymerization of monomers containing phosphate groups, was applied to immobilize Ti (4+) through the chelating interaction between phosphate groups on the polymer and Ti (4+). The resulting Ti (4+)-IMAC resin specifically isolates phosphopeptides from a digest mixture of standard phosphoproteins and nonphosphoprotein (BSA) in a ratio as low as 1:500. Ti (4+)-IMAC was further applied for phosphoproteome analysis of mouse liver. We also compared Ti (4+)-IMAC to other enrichment methods including Fe (3+)-IMAC, Zr (4+)-IMAC, TiO 2 and ZrO 2, and demonstrate superior selectivity and efficiency of Ti (4+)-IMAC for the isolation and enrichment of phosphopeptides. The high specificity and efficiency of phosphopeptide enrichment by Ti (4+)-IMAC mainly resulted from the flexibility of immobilized titanium ion with spacer arm linked to polymer beads as well as the specific interaction between immobilized titanium ion and phosphate group on phosphopeptides.

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