• lanthanides;
  • microspheres;
  • peptides;
  • phosphate;
  • rare-earth metals


Rare-earth phosphate microspheres with unique structures were developed as affinity probes for the selective capture and tagging of phosphopeptides. Prickly REPO4 (RE=Yb, Gd, Y) monodisperse microspheres, that have hollow structures, low densities, high specific surface areas, and large adsorptive capacities were prepared by an ion-exchange method. The elemental compositions and crystal structures of these affinity probes were confirmed by energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The morphologies of these compounds were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and nitrogen-adsorption isotherms. The potential ability of these microspheres for selectively capturing and labeling target biological molecules was evaluated by using protein-digestion analysis and a real sample as well as by comparison with the widely used TiO2 affinity microspheres. These results show that these porous rare-earth phosphate microspheres are highly promising probes for the rapid purification and recognition of phosphopeptides.