Preparation of C60-functionalized magnetic silica microspheres for the enrichment of low-concentration peptides and proteins for MALDI-TOF MS analysis



In this work, for the first time, a novel C60-functionalized magnetic silica microsphere (designated C60-f-MS) was synthesized by radical polymerization of C60 molecules on the surface of magnetic silica microspheres. The resulting C60-f-MS microsphere has magnetite core and thin C60 modified silica shell, which endow them with useful magnetic responsivity and surface affinity toward low-concentration peptides and proteins. As a result of their excellent magnetic property, the synthesized C60-f-MS microspheres can be easily separated from sample solution without ultracentrifuge. The C60-f-MS microspheres were successfully applied to the enrichment of low-concentration peptides in tryptic protein digest and human urine via a MALDI-TOF MS analysis. Moreover, they were demonstrated to have enrichment efficiency for low-concentration proteins. Due to the novel materials maintaining excellent magnetic properties and admirable adsorption, the process of enrichment and desalting is very fast (only 5 min), convenient and efficient. As it has been demonstrated in the study, newly developed fullerene-derivatized magnetic silica materials are superior to those already available in the market. The facile and low-cost synthesis as well as the convenient and efficient enrichment process of the novel C60-f-MS microspheres makes it a promising candidate for isolation of low-concentration peptides and proteins even in complex biological samples such as serum, plasma, and urine or cell lysate.