Conversion of 3-nitrotyrosine to 3-aminotyrosine residues facilitates mapping of tyrosine nitration in proteins by electrospray ionization–tandem mass spectrometry using electron capture dissociation


L. Prokai, Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX 76107–2699, USA. E-mail:


Protein tyrosine nitration is associated with oxidative stress and various human diseases. Tandem mass spectrometry has been the method of choice for the identification and localization of this posttranslational modification to understand the underlying mechanisms and functional consequences. Due to the electron predator effect of the nitro group limiting fragmentation of the peptide backbone, electron-based dissociation has not been applicable, however, to nitrotyrosine-containing peptides. A straightforward conversion of the nitrotyrosine to the aminotyrosine residues is introduced to address this limitation. When tested with nitrated ubiquitin and human serum albumin as model proteins in top-down and bottom-up approaches, respectively, this chemical derivatization enhanced backbone fragmentation of the corresponding nitroproteins and nitropeptides by electron capture dissociation (ECD). Increased sequence coverage has been obtained by combining in the bottom-up strategy the conversion of nitrotyrosine to aminotyrosine and introducing, in addition to trypsin, a further digesting enzyme of complementary specificity, when protein nitration was mapped by liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry using both collision-induced dissociation (CID) and ECD. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.