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Large-Scale Analysis of Peptide Sequence Variants: The Case for High-Field Asymmetric Waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2015, 22:52 by Andrew J. Creese, Jade Smart, Helen J. Cooper
Large scale analysis of proteins by mass spectrometry is becoming increasingly routine; however, the presence of peptide isomers remains a significant challenge for both identification and quantitation in proteomics. Classes of isomers include sequence inversions, structural isomers, and localization variants. In many cases, liquid chromatography is inadequate for separation of peptide isomers. The resulting tandem mass spectra are composite, containing fragments from multiple precursor ions. The benefits of high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) for proteomics have been demonstrated by a number of groups, but previously work has focused on extending proteome coverage generally. Here, we present a systematic study of the benefits of FAIMS for a key challenge in proteomics, that of peptide isomers. We have applied FAIMS to the analysis of a phosphopeptide library comprising the sequences GPSGXVpSXAQLX­(K/R) and SXPFKXpSPLXFG­(K/R), where X = ADEFGLSTVY. The library has defined limits enabling us to make valid conclusions regarding FAIMS performance. The library contains numerous sequence inversions and structural isomers. In addition, there are large numbers of theoretical localization variants, allowing false localization rates to be determined. The FAIMS approach is compared with reversed-phase liquid chromatography and strong cation exchange chromatography. The FAIMS approach identified 35% of the peptide library, whereas LC–MS/MS alone identified 8% and LC–MS/MS with strong cation exchange chromatography prefractionation identified 17.3% of the library.