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Immonium Ion Scanning for the Discovery of Post-Translational Modifications and Its Application to Histones

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journal contribution
posted on 03.07.2008, 00:00 by Timothy A. Couttas, Mark J. Raftery, Giulia Bernardini, Marc R. Wilkins
This study investigates the use of immonium ion scanning for the discovery of methylated and acetylated peptides. Tandem mass spectrometry of modified and unmodified versions of identical peptides revealed ions of 98, 112 and 126 m/z specifically in association with mono-, dimethylated and acetylated lysine, respectively. Ions of 143 m/z were seen to be associated with monomethylated arginine, although were not unique to this amino acid. Use of immonium ion scanning with differing collision energies (35, 55, 75, 95, 115 eV) showed that where immonium ions are strong and unique for a modified amino acid, the discovery rate of modified peptides can be improved up to 4-fold over control analyses. The position of an amino acid in a peptide, being terminal or internal, also affected the efficiency of identification of modified peptides. Higher collision energy scanning was required for the most effective identification of peptides with internal modified residues. We conclude that immonium ion scanning, particularly with a range of collision energies, can improve the discovery efficiency of post-translational modifications in peptides.