Analytical Chemistry, 82(6), p. 2387-2394 (2010); doi:10.1021/ac902624b
The interest on accurate and precise determination of metalloproteins such as Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu, Zn-SOD) involved in the redox balance of living cells is increasing. For this purpose, analytical strategies that provide absolute protein concentration measurements have to be developed. The determination of Cu, Zn-SOD through the measurement of the Cu associated to the protein, which provides its enzymatic activity, by liquid chromatography with online inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric (ICPMS) detection is described here. Postcolumn isotope dilution analysis (IDA) of Cu has been applied for quantification after evaluation of the column recovery for the total Cu and also Cu-SOD that turned out to be quantitative. When the concentration results obtained via IDA using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)−ICPMS are plotted versus the activity measurements (using the spectrophotometric pyrogallol autoxidation method) a good correlation curve is obtained. Such results permit us, from ICPMS measurements, to obtain simultaneously the Cu, Zn-SOD absolute concentration as well as its enzymatic activity by interpolation in the previously obtained curve. This possibility was explored in real samples (red blood cells of control individuals and patients with metallic total hip arthroplasty) obtaining a good match between direct enzymatic activity measurements and those obtained by interpolation in the correlation curve. The actual protein identification in the red blood cell extract was conducted by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), and two matrixes were compared in order to preserve as much as possible the protein−metal interactions during the MALDI process. Interestingly, using a solution containing trihydroxyacetophenone in citrate buffer permitted us to observe some metal−protein interactions in the MS spectrum of the intact Cu, Zn-SOD from red blood cells.