Albumin is covalently modified by organophosphorus toxicants (OP) on tyrosine 411, but less than 1% of albumin is modified in humans by lethal OP doses that inhibit 95% of plasma butyrylcholinesterase. A method that enriches OP-modified albumin peptides could aid analysis of low dose exposures. Soman or chlorpyrifos oxon treated human plasma was digested with pepsin. Albumin peptides were enriched by binding to Fe3+ beads at pH 11 and eluted with pH 2.6 buffer. Similarly, mouse and guinea pig albumin modified by chlorpyrifos oxon were digested with pepsin and enriched by binding to Fe 3+ beads. Peptides were identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. PHOS-select iron affinity beads specifically enriched albumin peptides VRY411TKKVPQVST and LVRY411TKKVPQVST in a pepsin digest of human plasma. The unmodified as well as OP-modified peptides bound to the beads. The binding capacity of 500 μL of beads was the pepsin digest of 2.1 μL of human plasma. The limit of detection was 0.2% of OP-modified albumin peptide in 0.43 μL of plasma. Enrichment of OP-modified albumin peptides by binding to Fe3+ beads is a method with potential application to diagnosis of OP pesticide and nerve agent exposure in humans, mice, and guinea pigs.
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