Analytical Chemistry, 81(13), p. 5390-5399 (2009); doi:10.1021/ac9005606
The validity of using tyrosine iodination chemistry for the absolute and generic quantification of peptides by capillary high-performance liquid chromatography (capHPLC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) is investigated in detail. In this approach, two iodine atoms are specifically bioconjugated to the meta positions of the aromatic ring of every tyrosine residue. Characterization studies by capHPLC with parallel ICPMS and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESIMS/MS) detection clearly showed that such labeling iodination reaction affords one to obtain most accurate peptide determinations (after translation of the picomoles of iodine, quantified by ICPMS in each chromatographic peak, into picomoles of the corresponding labeled peptide). It is demonstrated that only, but every, tyrosine residue present in the peptide is completely diiodinated. The excellent detection limits for iodine using ICPMS allowed robust and highly sensitive tyrosine-containing peptide quantification (480 pM, 480 amol absolute). Derivatization is easily accomplished in a water/acetonitrile solution in only 2 min. Moreover, since the signal in ICPMS is completely independent from the chemical species containing the detected element, any iodine-containing standard (e.g., iodobenzoic acid) could be used as internal standard for the absolute quantification of every iodine-labeled tyrosine-containing peptide separated and detected along the gradient. The approach was optimized for tyrosine labeling and then validated by application to the absolute quantification of the three standard peptides present in the only reference material for peptide quantity (NIST 8327) commercially available. Identification of the species quantified by ICPMS was carried out by parallel capHPLC−ESI quadrupole time-of-flight (Q/TOF) analysis and corresponded, as expected, to the diiodinated peptides. The collision-induced dissociation (CID) spectra obtained demonstrated unequivocally the specific and complete derivatization of the tyrosine residues. The obtained quantitative results closely matched the reference values reported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In terms of precision, the relative standard deviation was as low as 3% RSD. Finally the approach was tested for the absolute quantification of proteins using a model standard protein (β-casein). Results agreed again with the value specified showing that this labeling reaction is compatible with tryptic digestion.