Analysis of peptides and proteins containing nitrotyrosine by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry
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- Sarver, A., Scheffler, N.K., Shetlar, M.D. et al. J Am Soc Mass Spectrom (2001) 12: 439. doi:10.1016/S1044-0305(01)00213-6
Oxidative damage to proteins can occur under physiological conditions through the action of reactive oxygen species, including those containing nitrogen such as peroxynitrite (ONO2−). Peroxynitrite has been shown in vitro to target tyrosine residues in proteins through free radical addition to produce 3-nitrotyrosine. In this work, we show that mass spectral patterns associated with 3-nitrotyrosine containing peptides allow identification of peptides containing this modification. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry was used to characterize a synthetic peptide AAFGY(m-NO2)AR and several peptides containing 3-nitrotyrosine derived from bovine serum albumin treated with tetranitromethane. A unique series of ions were found for these peptides in addition to the mass shift of +45 Da corresponding to the addition of the nitro group. Specifically, two additional ions were observed at roughly equal abundance that correspond to the loss of one and two oxygens, and at lower abundances, two ions are seen that suggest the formation of hydroxylamine and amine derivatives. These latter four components appear to originate by laser-induced photochemical decomposition. MALDI-MS analysis of the synthetic peptide containing 3-nitrotyrosine revealed this same pattern. Post-source decay (PSD) MALDI-time-of-flight (TOF) and collisional activation using a prototype MALDI quadrupole TOF yielded extensive fragmentation that allowed site-specific identification of 3-nitrotyrosine. Conversion of peptides containing 3-nitrotyrosine to 3-aminotyrosine with Na2S2O4 yielded a single molecular ion by MALDI with an abundant sidechain loss under PSD conditions. These observations suggest that MALDI can provide a selective method for the analysis and characterization of 3-nitrotyrosine-containing peptides.
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