C-terminal protein characterization by mass spectrometry using combined micro scale liquid and solid-phase derivatization

H. Nika, E. Nieves, David H. Hawke, Ruth Hogue Angeletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A sample preparation method for protein C-terminal peptide isolation has been developed. In this strategy, protein carboxylate glycinamidation was preceded by carboxyamidomethylation and optional α- and ε-amine acetylation in a one-pot reaction, followed by tryptic digestion of the modified protein. The digest was adsorbed on ZipTipC18 pipette tips for sequential peptide α- and ε-amine acetylation and 1-ethyl-(3--dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide-mediated carboxylate condensation with ethylenediamine. Amino group-functionalized peptides were scavenged on N-hydroxysuccinimide-activated agarose, leaving the C-terminal peptide in the flow-through fraction. The use of reversed-phase supports as a venue for peptide derivatization enabled facile optimization of the individual reaction steps for throughput and completeness of reaction. Reagents were exchanged directly on the support, eliminating sample transfer between the reaction steps. By this sequence of solid-phase reactions, the C-terminal peptide could be uniquely recognized in mass spectra of unfractionated digests of moderate complexity. The use of the sample preparation method was demonstrated with low-level amounts of a model protein. The C-terminal peptides were selectively retrieved from the affinity support and proved highly suitable for structural characterization by collisionally induced dissociation. The sample preparation method provides for robustness and simplicity of operation using standard equipment readily available in most biological laboratories and is expected to be readily expanded to gel-separated proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • C-terminal peptide identification
  • C-terminal peptide structural characterization
  • Multistep derivatization
  • Reversed-phase supports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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