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Sci Signal. 2012 Jun 5;5(227):pl3. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2002568.

Labeling and identification of direct kinase substrates.

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Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Identifying kinase substrates is an important step in mapping signal transduction pathways, but it remains a difficult and time-consuming process. Analog-sensitive (AS) kinases have been used to selectively tag and identify direct kinase substrates in lysates from whole cells. In this approach, a γ-thiol adenosine triphosphate analog and an AS kinase are used to selectively thiophosphorylate target proteins. Thiophosphate is used as a chemical handle to purify peptides from a tryptic digest, and target proteins are identified by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Here, we describe an updated strategy for labeling AS kinase substrates, solid-phase capture of thiophosphorylated peptides, incorporation of stable isotope labeling in cell culture for filtering nonspecific background peptides, enrichment of phosphorylated target peptides to identify low-abundance targets, and analysis by LC-MS/MS.

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