Tandem mass spectrometry strategies for phosphoproteome analysis



Protein phosphorylation is involved in nearly all essential biochemical pathways and the deregulation of phosphorylation events has been associated with the onset of numerous diseases. A multitude of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and multistage MS/MS (i.e., MSn) strategies have been developed in recent years and have been applied toward comprehensive phosphoproteomic analysis, based on the interrogation of proteolytically derived phosphopeptides. However, the utility of each of these MS/MS and MSn approaches for phosphopeptide identification and characterization, including phosphorylation site localization, is critically dependant on the properties of the precursor ion (e.g., polarity and charge state), the specific ion activation method that is employed, and the underlying gas-phase ion chemistries, mechanisms and other factors that influence the gas-phase fragmentation behavior of phosphopeptide ions. This review therefore provides an overview of recent studies aimed at developing an improved understanding of these issues, and highlights the advantages and limitations of both established (e.g., CID) and newly maturing (e.g., ECD, ETD, photodissociation, etc.) yet complementary, ion activation techniques. This understanding is expected to facilitate the continued refinement of existing MS/MS strategies, and the development of novel MS/MS techniques for phosphopeptide analysis, with great promise in providing new insights into the role of protein phosphorylation on normal biological function, and in the onset and progression of disease. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 30:600–625, 2011