Duarte M, Subedi P, Yilmaz E, Marcus K, Laurell T, Ekström S
J. Mol. Recognit. 31 (3) - [2018-03-00; online 2017-10-12]
Phosphorylation is a protein post-translational modification (PTM) that plays an important role in cell signaling, cell differentiation, and metabolism. The hyper phosphorylated forms of certain proteins have been appointed as biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, and phosphorylation-related mutations are important for detecting cancer pathways. Due to the low abundance of phosphorylated proteins in biological fluids, sample enrichment is beneficial prior to detection. Thus, a need to find new strategies for enriching phosphopeptides has emerged. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are synthetic polymeric materials manufactured to exhibit affinity for a target molecule. In this study, MIPs have been synthesized using a new approach based on the use of fumed silica as sacrificial support acting as solid porogen with the template (phosphotyrosine) immobilized on its surface. Phosphotyrosine MIPs were tested against a mixture of peptides and phosphopeptides by performing micro-solid phase extraction using MIPs (μMISPE) packed in a pipette tip. First, the capability of the materials to preferentially enrich phosphopeptides was evaluated. In a next step, the enrichment of phosphopeptides from a whole-cell lysate of human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells was performed. The eluates were analyzed using MALDI-MS in the first case and with nano-HPLC-ESI-MS/MS in the second case. The results showed that the MIPs provided affinity for phosphopeptides, binding preferentially to multi-site phosphorylated peptides. The MIPs could enrich phosphopeptides in over 10-fold compared with the number of phosphopeptides found in a cell lysate without enrichment.