Intact protein analysis via top-down mass spectrometry (MS) provides a bird's eye view over the protein complexes and complex protein mixtures with the unique capability of characterizing protein variants, splice isoforms, and combinatorial post-translational modifications (PTMs). Here we applied capillary electrophoresis (CE) through a sheathless CE-electrospray ionization interface coupled to an LTQ Velos Orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer to analyze the Dam1 complex from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We achieved a 100-fold increase in sensitivity compared to a reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled MS analysis of recombinant Dam1 complex with a total loading of 2.5 ng (12 amol). N-terminal processing forms of individual subunits of the Dam1 complex were observed as well as their phosphorylation stoichiometry upon Mps1p kinase treatment.
Keywords: capillary electrophoresis; phosphorylation site mapping; phosphorylation stoichiometry; post-translational modification; protein complexes; top-down mass spectrometry.