Improved detection specificity for plasma proteins by targeting cysteine-containing peptides with photo-SRM
Targeted mass spectrometry using selected reaction monitoring (SRM) has emerged as an alternative to immunoassays for protein quantification owing to faster development time and higher multiplexing capability. However, the SRM strategy is faced with the high complexity of peptide mixtures after trypsin digestion of whole plasma or the cellular proteome that most of the time causes contamination, irremediably, by interfering compounds in the transition channels monitored. This problem becomes increasingly acute when the targeted protein is present at a low concentration. In this work, the merit of laser-induced photo-dissociation in the visible region at 473 nm implemented in an hybrid quadrupole linear ion-trap mass spectrometer (photo-SRM) was evaluated for detection specificity of cysteine-containing peptides in a group of plasma proteins after tagging with a dabcyl chromophore. Compared with conventional SRM, photo-SRM chromatograms have improved detection specificity for most of peptides monitored. Comparison of the signals obtained for the best proteotypic peptides in SRM mode and those recorded by photo-SRM of cysteine-containing peptides for the same proteins reveals either increased (up to 10-fold) or similar signal to photo-SRM detection. Finally, photo-SRM has extended response linearity across a calibration plot obtained by diluting human plasma in rat plasma, down to the lowest concentrations. Hence, photo-SRM may advantageously complement conventional SRM in assay of proteins in complex biological matrices.
KeywordsPhoto-SRM Cysteine-containing peptides quantification Chromophore derivatization Plasma proteins
The authors would like to acknowledge the French Agence National de la Recherche for the funding of photo-SRM project (ANR-11-BSV5-003-01).
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