Structural characterisation of tyrosine-nitrated peptides by ultraviolet and infrared matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry

Eur J Mass Spectrom (Chichester). 2005;11(5):513-8. doi: 10.1255/ejms.777.


Nitration of tyrosine residues in proteins may occur in cells upon oxidative stress and inflammation processes mediated through generation of reactive nitroxyl from peroxynitrite. Tyrosine nitration from oxidative pathways may generate cytotoxic species that cause protein dysfunction and pathogenesis. A number of protein nitrations in vivo have been reported and some specific Tyrosine nitration sites have been recently identified using mass spectrometric methods. High-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (MALDI) FT-ICR-MS) is shown here to be a highly efficient method in the determination of protein nitrations. Following the identification of nitration of the catalytic site Tyr-430 residue of bovine prostacyclin synthase, we synthesised several model peptides containing both unmodified tyrosine and 3-nitro-tyrosine residues, using solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). The structures of the nitrotyrosine peptides were characterised both by ESI- and by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation (MALDI)-FT-ICR-MS, using a standard ultraviolet (UV) nitrogen nitrogen laser and a 2.97 microm Nd-YAG infrared laser. Using UV-MALDI-MS, 3-nitrotyrosyl-peptides were found to undergo extensive photochemical fragmentation at the nitrophenyl group, which may hamper or prevent the unequivocal identification of Tyr-nitrations in cellular proteins. In contrast, infrared-MALDI-FT-ICR-MS did not produce fragmentation of molecular ions of Tyr-nitrated peptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cyclotrons
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Infrared Rays
  • Ions
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nitrates / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods
  • Tyrosine / chemistry
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Ions
  • Nitrates
  • Peptides
  • Tyrosine