Infoscience

Journal article

Ga2O3 photocatalyzed on-line tagging of cysteine to facilitate peptide mass fingerprinting

beta-Ga2O3 is a wide-band-gap semiconductor having strong oxidation ability under light irradiation. Herein, the steel target plates modified with beta-Ga2O3 nanoparticles have been developed to carry out in-source photo-catalytic oxidative reactions for online peptide tagging during laser desorption/ ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS) analysis. Under UV laser irradiation, beta-Ga2O3 can catalyze the photo-oxidation of 2-methoxyhydroquinone added to a sample mixture to 2-methoxy benzoquinone that can further react with the thiol groups of cysteine residues by Michael addition reaction. The tagging process leads to appearance of pairs of peaks with an m/z shift of 138.1Th. This online labelling strategy is demonstrated to be sensitive and efficient with a detection-limit at femtomole level. Using the strategy, the information on cysteine content in peptides can be obtained together with peptide mass, therefore constraining the database searching for an advanced identification of cysteine-containing proteins from protein mixtures. The current peptide online tagging method can be important for specific analysis of cysteine-containing proteins especially the low-abundant ones that cannot be completely isolated from other high-abundant non-cysteine-proteins.

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