A key step in shotgun proteomics is the digestion of proteins into peptides amenable for mass spectrometry. Tryptic peptides can be readily sequenced and identified by collision-induced dissociation (CID) or higher-energy collisional dissociation (HCD) because the fragmentation rules are well-understood. Here, we investigate LysargiNase, a perfect trypsin mirror protease, because it cleaves equally specific at arginine and lysine residues, albeit at the N-terminal end. LysargiNase peptides are therefore practically tryptic-like in length and sequence except that following ESI, the two protons are now both positioned at the N-terminus. Here, we compare side-by-side the chromatographic separation properties, gas-phase fragmentation characteristics, and (phospho)proteome sequence coverage of tryptic (i.e., (X)nK/R) and LysargiNase (i.e., K/R(X)n) peptides using primarily electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) and, for comparison, HCD. We find that tryptic and LysargiNase peptides fragment nearly as mirror images. For LysargiNase predominantly N-terminal peptide ions (c-ions (ETD) and b-ions (HCD)) are formed, whereas for trypsin, C-terminal fragment ions dominate (z-ions (ETD) and y-ions (HCD)) in a homologous mixture of complementary ions. Especially during ETD, LysargiNase peptides fragment into low-complexity but information-rich sequence ladders. Trypsin and LysargiNase chart distinct parts of the proteome, and therefore, the combined use of these enzymes will benefit a more in-depth and reliable analysis of (phospho)proteomes.
Keywords: LysargiNase; electron-transfer dissociation; higher-energy collisional dissociation; peptide fragmentation; phosphoproteomics; proteomics; trypsin.