American Chemical Society
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Differential Dimethyl Labeling of N-Termini of Peptides after Guanidination for Proteome Analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2005-12-12, 00:00 authored by Chengjie Ji, Nan Guo, Liang Li
We describe an enabling technique for proteome analysis based on isotope-differential dimethyl labeling of N-termini of tryptic peptides followed by microbore liquid chromatography (LC) matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS). In this method, lysine side chains are blocked by guanidination to prevent the incorporation of multiple labels, followed by N-terminal labeling via reductive amination using d(0),12C-formaldehyde or d(2),13C-formaldehyde. Relative quantification of peptide mixtures is achieved by examining the MALDI mass spectra of the peptide pairs labeled with different isotope tags. A nominal mass difference of 6 Da between the peptide pair allows negligible interference between the two isotopic clusters for quantification of peptides of up to 3000 Da. Since only the N-termini of tryptic peptides are differentially labeled and the a1 ions are also enhanced in the MALDI MS/MS spectra, interpretation of the fragment ion spectra to obtain sequence information is greatly simplified. It is demonstrated that this technique of N-terminal dimethylation (2ME) after lysine guanidination (GA) or 2MEGA offers several desirable features, including simple experimental procedure, stable products, using inexpensive and commercially available reagents, and negligible isotope effect on reversed-phase separation. LC−MALDI MS combined with this 2MEGA labeling technique was successfully used to identify proteins that included polymorphic variants and low abundance proteins in bovine milk. In addition, by analyzing a mixture of two equal amounts of milk whey fraction as a control, it is shown that the measured average ratio for 56 peptide pairs from 14 different proteins is 1.02, which is very close to the theoretical ratio of 1.00. The calculated percentage error is 2.0% and relative standard deviation is 4.6%. Keywords: dimethylation • guanidination • 2MEGA • isotope labeling • quantitative proteomics