On-line immobilized metal affinity chromatography/capillary electrophoresis/electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (IMAC/CE/ESI-MS) offers selective preconcentration of phosphorylated peptides with identification of the phosphorylated amino acid(s). The preconcentration provides low concentration limits of detection and capillary electrophoresis separates the peptides. Recently, we reported a fast, simple, and sensitive on-line IMAC/CE/ESI-MS/MS method for the determination of phosphopeptides at low-pmole levels. That work is expanded here by use of multiple stage tandem mass spectrometry (MS(n), n = 2,3) to isolate and fragment target ions to provide more reliable assignments of phosphorylated residues. The application of IMAC/CE/ESI-MS(n) is demonstrated by the analysis of tryptic digests of alpha- and beta-casein and in-gel tryptic digests of beta-casein.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.