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Multidimensional Strategy for Sensitive Phosphoproteomics Incorporating Protein Prefractionation Combined with SIMAC, HILIC, and TiO2 Chromatography Applied to Proximal EGF Signaling

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journal contribution
posted on 22.02.2016, 12:42 by Kasper Engholm-Keller, Thomas Aarup Hansen, Giuseppe Palmisano, Martin R. Larsen
Comprehensive enrichment and fractionation is essential to obtain a broad coverage of the phosphoproteome. This inevitably leads to sample loss, and thus, phosphoproteomics studies are usually only performed on highly abundant samples. Here, we present a comprehensive phosphoproteomics strategy applied to 400 μg of protein from EGF-stimulated HeLa cells. The proteins are separated into membrane and cytoplasmic fractions using sodium carbonate combined with ultracentrifugation. The phosphopeptides were separated into monophosphorylated and multiphosphorylated pools using sequential elution from IMAC (SIMAC) followed by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography of the mono- and nonphosphorylated peptides and subsequent titanium dioxide chromatography of the HILIC fractions. This strategy facilitated the identification of >4700 unique phosphopeptides, while 636 phosphosites were changing following short-term EGF stimulation, many of which were not previously known to be involved in EGFR signaling. We further compared three different data processing programs and found large differences in their peptide identification rates due to different implementations of recalibration and filtering. Manually validating a subset of low-scoring peptides exclusively identified using the MaxQuant software revealed a large percentage of false positive identifications. This indicates that, despite having highly accurate precursor mass determination, peptides with low fragment ion scores should not automatically be reported in phosphoproteomics studies.