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Combining High-Energy C-Trap Dissociation and Electron Transfer Dissociation for Protein O-GlcNAc Modification Site Assignment

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posted on 02.09.2011, 00:00 by Peng Zhao, Rosa Viner, Chin Fen Teo, Geert-Jan Boons, David Horn, Lance Wells
Mass spectrometry-based studies of proteins that are post-translationally modified by O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) are challenged in effectively identifying the sites of modification while simultaneously sequencing the peptides. Here we tested the hypothesis that a combination of high-energy C-trap dissociation (HCD) and electron transfer dissociation (ETD) could specifically target the O-GlcNAc modified peptides and elucidate the amino acid sequence while preserving the attached GlcNAc residue for accurate site assignment. By taking advantage of the recently characterized O-GlcNAc-specific IgG monoclonal antibodies and the combination of HCD and ETD fragmentation techniques, O-GlcNAc modified proteins were enriched from HEK293T cells and subsequently characterized using the LTQ Orbitrap Velos ETD (Thermo Fisher Scientific) mass spectrometer. In our data set, 83 sites of O-GlcNAc modification are reported with high confidence confirming that the HCD/ETD combined approach is amenable to the detection and site assignment of O-GlcNAc modified peptides. Realizing HCD triggered ETD fragmentation on a linear ion trap/Orbitrap platform for more in-depth analysis and application of this technique to other post-translationally modified proteins are currently underway. Furthermore, this report illustrates that the O-GlcNAc transferase appears to demonstrate promiscuity with regards to the hydroxyl-containing amino acid modified in short stretches of primary sequence of the glycosylated polypeptides.