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Identification of Deamidated Peptides in Cytokine-Exposed MIN6 Cells through LC−MS/MS Using a Shortened Digestion Time and Inspection of MS2 Spectra

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journal contribution
posted on 29.12.2020, 15:36 by Aïsha Callebaut, Rita Derua, Saurabh Vig, Thomas Delong, Chantal Mathieu, Lut Overbergh
Enzymatic deamidation, the conversion of glutamine (Gln) into glutamic acid (Glu) residues, mediated by tissue transglutaminase enzymes, can provoke autoimmunity by generating altered self-epitopes, a process well-known in celiac disease and more recently also described in type 1 diabetes (T1D). To identify deamidated proteins, liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry is the method of choice. However, as nonenzymatic deamidations on asparagine (Asn) and to a minor extent on Gln are frequently induced in vitro during proteomics sample preparation, the accurate detection of in vivo deamidation can be hampered. Here we report on the optimization of a method to reduce in vitro generated deamidation by 70% using improved trypsin digestion conditions (90 min/pH 8). We also point to the critical importance of manual inspection of MS2 spectra, considering that only 55% of the high quality peptides with Gln deamidation were assigned correctly using an automated search algorithm. As proof of principal, using these criteria, we showed a significant increase in levels of both Asn and Gln deamidation in cytokine-exposed murine MIN6 β-cells, paralleled by an increase in tissue transglutaminase activity. These findings add evidence to the hypothesis that deamidation is occurring in stressed β-cell proteins and can be involved in the autoimmune process in T1D.