Robust phosphoproteomic profiling of tyrosine phosphorylation sites from human T cells using immobilized metal affinity chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry.
Protein tyrosine phosphorylation cascades are difficult to analyze and are critical for cell signaling in higher eukaryotes. Methodology for profiling tyrosine phosphorylation, considered herein as the assignment of multiple protein tyrosine phosphorylation sites in single analyses, was reported recently (Salomon, A. R.; Ficarro, S. B.; Brill, L. M.; Brinker, A.; Phung, Q. T.; Ericson, C.; Sauer, K.; Brock, A.; Horn, D. M.; Schultz, P. G.; Peters, E. C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2003, 100, 443-448). The technology platform included the use of immunoprecipitation, immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC), liquid chromatography, and tandem mass spectrometry. In the present report, we show that when using complex mixtures of peptides from human cells, methylation improved the selectivity of IMAC for phosphopeptides and eliminated the acidic bias that occurred with unmethylated peptides. The IMAC procedure was significantly improved by desalting methylated peptides, followed by gradient elution of the peptides to a larger IMAC column. These improvements resulted in assignment of approximately 3-fold more tyrosine phosphorylation sites, from human cell lysates, than the previous methodology. Nearly 70 tyrosine-phosphorylated peptides from proteins in human T cells were assigned in single analyses. These proteins had unknown functions or were associated with a plethora of fundamental cellular processes. This robust technology platform should be broadly applicable to profiling the dynamics of tyrosine phosphorylation.