Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 382, Issue 1, pp 22–27 | Cite as

The detection of nitrated tyrosine in neuropeptides: a MALDI matrix-dependent response

  • Sarah A. Sheeley
  • Stanislav S. Rubakhin
  • Jonathan V. Sweedler
Original Paper


Neuropeptides are a diverse class of signaling molecules that typically have one or more posttranslational modifications. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) is an effective tool for identification and characterization of neuropeptides from samples as small as individual neurons. However, the detection of one particular posttranslational modification—nitrotyrosine—has been problematic because of the lability of the nitro group of nitrotyrosine under MALDI-MS conditions. The detection of nitrated tyrosine in peptide standards was dependent on the MALDI matrix used for the analysis. Specifically, sinapinic acid was the optimum matrix tested to observe this modification while it was not consistently detected with matrices such as 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid. Using the optimized procedures, several identified nitric-oxide-synthase positive neurons from Lymnaea stagnalis were tested to determine if the neuropeptides present were nitrated. In all cases, the nitrated form of the neuropeptide was not observed. The dependence on the sample-preparation procedures of observing this particular chemical modification demonstrates the need for careful selection of sample-preparation methods with MALDI or the use of other ionization methods.


Nitration Neuropeptides Post-translational modifications MALDI-MS Matrix dependence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Sheeley
    • 1
  • Stanislav S. Rubakhin
    • 1
  • Jonathan V. Sweedler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and the Beckman InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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