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Anal Chem. 2010 Aug 1;82(15):6409-14. doi: 10.1021/ac100473k.

Separation of multiphosphorylated peptide isomers by hydrophilic interaction chromatography on an aminopropyl phase.

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Institute of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Center for Biotechnology and Biomedicine (BBZ), Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, Universit├Ąt Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


The separation of isomeric phosphorylated peptides is challenging and often impossible for multiphosphorylated isomers using chromatographic and capillary electrophoretic methods. In this study we investigated the separation of a set of single-, double-, and triple-phosphorylated peptides (corresponding to the human tau protein) by ion-pair reversed-phase chromatography (IP-RPC) and hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC). In HILIC both hydroxyl and aminopropyl stationary phases were tested with aqueous acetonitrile in order to assess their separation efficiency. The hydroxyl phase separated the phosphopeptides very well from the unphosphorylated analogue, while on the aminopropyl phase even isomeric phosphopeptides attained baseline separation. Thus, up to seven phosphorylated versions of a given tau domain were separated. Furthermore, the low concentration of an acidic ammonium formate buffer allowed an online analysis with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) to be conducted, enabling peptide sequencing and identification of phosphorylation sites.

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