Acetylation of proteins on specific lysine residues by acetyltransferase enzymes is a post-translational modification for biologically relevant regulation. In this study, we proposed a strategy to determine the in vitro acetylation sites of proteins by tracing isotope-labeled acetyl groups using mass spectrometry. Isotope-labeled and unlabeled acetyl groups transferred onto the substrates in vitro result in a specific "mass difference" that can be measured by MS analysis and utilized for localization of potential acetylated peptide signals. The identification of acetylation site is facilitated by conducting MS/MS experiments on those selected signals. Acetylation reactions of substrates were performed in the presence of acetyltransferase and equal molar of isotope-labeled acetyl coenzyme A ([ 13C2-2-D3]-acetyl-CoA) and unlabeled acetyl-CoA. After enzymatic digestion, the resulting peptide mixture was fractionated by off-line, reversed-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography and the accurate mass measurement of peptides was achieved by a quadrupole/time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Signals with 5-Da (or their multiples) mass differences and equal responses were selected out by program computation. Those potential acetylated peptide signals were subjected to MS/MS analyses for determination of acetylation sites. We have used histone H3 peptide (aa 1-20), histone H2B peptide (aa 1-21), histone H2A, and histone H2B proteins as the model compounds to demonstrate the applicability of this analytical scheme for the characterization of in vitro acetylation sites.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry