Simple strategies to enhance discovery of acetylation post-translational modifications by quadrupole-orbitrap LC-MS/MS

Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom. 2018 Feb;1866(2):224-229. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2017.10.006. Epub 2017 Oct 16.


Enzyme-dependent post-translational modifications (PTMs) mediate the cellular regulation of proteins and can be discovered using proteomics. However, even where the peptides of interest can be enriched for analysis with state-of-the-art LC-MS/MS tools and informatics, only a fraction of peptide ions can be identified confidently. Thus, many PTM sites remain undiscovered and unconfirmed. In this minireview, we use a case study to discuss how the use of inclusion lists, turning off isotopic exclusion, and manual validation significantly increased depth of coverage, facilitating discovery of acetylation sites in targets of an acetyltransferase virulence factor. These underutilized strategies have the potential to help answer many mechanistic biological questions that large-scale proteomic studies cannot.

Keywords: (13)C O-acetylation; Acetylation; Plant PTMs; Post-translational modification; Q-exactive hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Humans
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Peptides