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Isotopic Signature Transfer and Mass Pattern Prediction (IsoStamp): An Enabling Technique for Chemically-Directed Proteomics

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posted on 16.12.2015, 19:47 by Krishnan K. Palaniappan, Austin A. Pitcher, Brian P. Smart, David R. Spiciarich, Anthony T. Iavarone, Carolyn R. Bertozzi
Directed proteomics applies mass spectrometry analysis to a subset of information-rich proteins. Here we describe a method for targeting select proteins by chemical modification with a tag that imparts a distinct isotopic signature detectable in a full-scan mass spectrum. Termed isotopic signature transfer and mass pattern prediction (IsoStamp), the technique exploits the perturbing effects of a dibrominated chemical tag on a peptide’s mass envelope, which can be detected with high sensitivity and fidelity using a computational method. Applying IsoStamp, we were able to detect femtomole quantities of a single tagged protein from total mammalian cell lysates at signal-to-noise ratios as low as 2.5:1. To identify a tagged-peptide’s sequence, we performed an inclusion list-driven shotgun proteomics experiment where peptides bearing a recoded mass envelope were targeted for fragmentation, allowing for direct site mapping. Using this approach, femtomole quantities of several targeted peptides were identified in total mammalian cell lysate, while traditional data-dependent methods were unable to identify as many peptides. Additionally, the isotopic signature imparted by the dibromide tag was detectable on a 12-kDa protein, suggesting applications in identifying large peptide fragments, such as those containing multiple or large posttranslational modifications (e.g., glycosylation). IsoStamp has the potential to enhance any proteomics platform that employs chemical labeling for targeted protein identification, including isotope coded affinity tagging, isobaric tagging for relative and absolute quantitation, and chemical tagging strategies for posttranslational modification.