Electron capture dissociation mass spectrometry of phosphopeptides: Arginine and phosphoserine

Andrea F. Lopez-clavijo, Carlos A. Duque-daza, Andrew Creese, Helen J. Cooper

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We have previously shown that the presence of phosphorylation can inhibit detection of electron capture dissociation (ECD) fragments of doubly charged peptide ions. The presence of non-covalent interactions, in the form of salt-bridges or ionic hydrogen bonds, prevents the separation of fragments following backbone cleavage. Here, we show the electron capture dissociation mass spectrometry of a suite of model peptides designed to investigate the relationship between phosphoserine and arginine position, namely AApSAnRAmKA (n = 0–6, m = 6–0), the presence of lysine residues (AApSAAKAARAKA) and AAApSARAAAAKAAAK, and the presence of proline A(A/P)ApSARAAA(A/P)KAAAK. The latter are analogous to the peptides studied previously. The results show that the presence of phosphoserine and basic amino acid residues alone does not inhibit ECD fragmentation, even when the number of basic amino acid residues is greater than the precursor charge state. Neither did the presence of proline in the peptide sequence suppress ECD backbone cleavage. Nevertheless, the presence and relative position of the phosphorylated residue do alter the observed backbone fragmentation abundance. In addition, the presence of phosphorylation appears to inhibit cleavage within the arginine side-chain regardless of the relative position of the arginine residue. The results suggest that ECD fragmentation behaviour is dependent on the three-dimensional structure of a peptide rather than its sequence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Early online date31 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2015


  • Phosphorylation
  • Post-translational modifications
  • PTMs
  • Electron capture dissociation
  • ECD


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