Identification of the Unpaired Cysteine Status and Complete Mapping of the 17 Disulfides of Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator Using LC-MS With Electron Transfer dissociation/collision Induced Dissociation

Anal Chem. 2010 Jun 15;82(12):5296-303. doi: 10.1021/ac100766r.


Recombinant tissue plasminogen (rt-PA) with 35 cysteine residues has been completely assigned by mapping the 17 disulfide linkages and the unpaired cysteine. The result is consistent with the prediction from homology except for the unassigned cysteine, which was identified at Cys83. This cysteine was found to be blocked and paired with either a glutathione or cysteine residue in an approximately 60:40 ratio, respectively. The analysis was conducted using a multifragmentation approach consisting of electron transfer dissociation (ETD) and collision induced dissociation (CID), in combination with a multienzyme digestion strategy (Lys-C, trypsin, and Glu-C). The disulfide-linked peptides, even those containing N- or O-linked glycosylation, could be assigned since the disulfide bonds were still preferably cleaved over the glycosidic cleavages under ETD fragmentation. The use of a multiple and sequential enzymatic digestion strategy was important in producing fragment sizes suitable for analysis. For the analysis of complex intertwined disulfides, the use of CID-MS(3) to target partially disulfide-dissociated peptides from the ETD fragmentation was necessary for linkage assignment. The ability to identify the exact location and status of the unpaired cysteine (free or blocked with a glutathione or cysteine) could shed light on the activation of rt-PA, upon stimulation by either oxidative or ischemic stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Cysteine / chemistry*
  • Disulfides / chemistry*
  • Glycosylation
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / chemistry*


  • Disulfides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Cysteine