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Top-Down Characterization of Heavily Modified Histones Using 193 nm Ultraviolet Photodissociation Mass Spectrometry

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posted on 18.01.2018, 00:00 by Sylvester M. Greer, Jennifer S. Brodbelt
The characterization of protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) remains a significant challenge for traditional bottom-up proteomics methods owing to the lability of PTMs and the difficulty of mapping combinatorial patterns of PTMs based on analysis of small peptides. These shortcomings have accelerated interest in top-down MS/MS methods that focus on analysis of intact proteins. Simultaneous mapping of all PTMs requires extensive sequence coverage to confidently localize modifications. 193 nm ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) has been shown to generate unparalleled sequence coverage for intact proteins compared to traditional MS/MS methods. This study focuses on identification and localization of PTMs of histones by UVPD, higher-energy collisional dissociation (HCD), and the hybrid method electron-transfer/higher-energy collision dissociation (EThcD) via a high throughput liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry strategy. In total, over 500 proteoforms were characterized among these three activation methods with 46% of the identifications found in common by two or more activation methods. EThcD and UVPD afforded more extensive characterization of proteoforms than HCD with average gains in sequence coverage of 15% and C-scores that doubled on average.