Mass Spectrometry of Putrescine, Spermidine, and Spermine Covalently Attached to Francisella tularensis Universal Stress Protein and Bovine Albumin

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Abstract

Bacterial and mammalian cells are rich in putrescine, spermidine, and spermine. Polyamines are required for optimum fitness, but the biological function of these small aliphatic compounds has only been partially revealed. Known functions of polyamines include interaction with nucleic acids that alters gene expression and with proteins that modulate activity. Although polyamines can be incorporated into proteins, very few naturally occurring polyaminated proteins have been identified, which is due in part to the difficulty in detecting these adducts. In the current study, bovine albumin and the recombinant universal stress protein from Francisella tularensis were used as models for mass spectrometry analysis of polyaminated proteins. The proteins were covalently bound to putrescine, spermidine, or spermine by the action of carbodiimide or microbial transglutaminase. Tryptic peptides, subjected to liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), were identified using Protein Prospector software. We describe the search parameters for identifying polyaminated peptides and show MS/MS spectra for adducts with putrescine, spermidine, and spermine. Manual evaluation led us to recognize signature ions for polyamine adducts on aspartate, glutamate, and glutamine, as well as neutral loss from putrescine, spermidine, and spermine during the fragmentation process. Mechanisms for the formation of signature ions and neutral loss are presented. Manual evaluation identified a false-positive adduct that had formed during trypsinolysis and resulted in peptide sequence rearrangement. Another false positive initially appeared to be a 71 kDa putrescine adduct on a cysteine residue. However, it was an acrylamide adduct on cysteine for a sample extracted from a polyacrylamide gel. The information presented in this report provides guidance and serves as a model for identifying naturally occurring polyaminated proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7120208
JournalBiochemistry Research International
Volume2024
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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