American Chemical Society
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C‑Terminal Charge-Reversal Derivatization and Parallel Use of Multiple Proteases Facilitates Identification of Protein C‑Termini by C‑Terminomics

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posted on 2016-03-04, 00:00 authored by Prasath Somasundaram, Tomas Koudelka, Dennis Linke, Andreas Tholey
The identification of protein C-termini in complex proteomes is challenging due to the poor ionization efficiency of the carboxyl group. Amidating the negatively charged C-termini with ethanolamine (EA) has been suggested to improve the detection of C-terminal peptides and allows for a directed depletion of internal peptides after proteolysis using carboxyl reactive polymers. In the present study, the derivatization with N,N-dimethylethylenediamine (DMEDA) and (4-aminobutyl)­guanidine (AG) leading to a positively charged C-terminus was investigated. C-terminal charge-reversed peptides showed improved coverage of b- and y-ion series in the MS/MS spectra compared to their noncharged counterparts. DMEDA-derivatized peptides resulted in many peptides with charge states of 3+, which benefited from ETD fragmentation. This makes the charge-reversal strategy particularly useful for the analysis of protein C-termini, which may also be post-translationally modified. The labeling strategy and the indirect enrichment of C-termini worked with similar efficiency for both DMEDA and EA, and their applicability was demonstrated on an E. coli proteome. Utilizing two proteases and different MS/MS activation mechanisms allowed for the identification of >400 C-termini, encompassing both canonical and truncated C-termini.