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"Out-gel" tryptic digestion procedure for chemical cross-linking studies with mass spectrometric detection



"Out-gel" tryptic digestion procedure for chemical cross-linking studies with mass spectrometric detection



Journal of Proteome Research 13(2): 527-535



SDS-PAGE is one of the most powerful protein separation techniques, and in-gel digestion is the leading method for converting proteins separated by SDS-PAGE into peptides suitable for mass spectrometry-based proteomic studies. In in-gel digestion, proteins are digested within the gel matrix, and the resulting peptides are extracted into an appropriate buffer. Transfer of the digested peptides to the liquid phase for subsequent mass spectrometric analysis, however, may be hampered by peptide-specific characteristics, including size, shape, poor solubility, adsorption to the polyacrylamide, and-in the case of cross-linking applications-by the branched structure of the peptides produced. This can be a limitation in cross-linking studies where efficient recoveries of the cross-linked peptides are critical. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a modification to the standard in-gel digestion procedure for SDS-PAGE-separated cross-linked proteins, based on older passive diffusion methods. By omitting the gel staining and gel fixation steps, intact proteins or cross-linked protein complexes can move through the gel and into the buffer solution. Digestion of the entire protein in the buffer outside the gel increases the probability that most of the proteolytic peptides produced will be present in the final digest solution. The resulting peptide mixture is then freed of SDS and concentrated using SCX (strong cation exchange) zip-tips and analyzed by mass spectrometry. For standard protein identification studies and the recovery of noncross-linked peptides, the in-gel procedure outperformed the out-gel procedure, but for cross-linking studies with enrichable cross-linkers (such as CBDPS), the standard out-gel procedure allowed the recoveries of cross-links not recovered via the in-gel method. Labeling experiments showed that, with an enrichable cross-linker, 93% of the cross-links showed better or equal recoveries with the out-gel procedure, as compared to the in-gel procedure. It should be noted that this method is not designed to replace in-gel digestion for most proteomics applications. However, by using the out-gel method, we were able to detect twice as many interprotein CBDPS cross-links from the histone H2A/H2B complex as were found in the in-gel digested sample.

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Accession: 051007275

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24354799

DOI: 10.1021/pr400710q


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