Modified metal-oxide affinity enrichment combined with 2D-PAGE and analysis of phosphoproteomes.
Protein phosphorylation is a dynamic process of widespread regulatory significance. Phosphoproteomics attempts to provide a global view of this process during biological processes, but the approach is generally limited by the low relative amounts of phosphoproteins in biological samples. Although mass spectrometry (MS)-based technologies exist for the in-depth characterization of protein phosphorylation, these techniques are typically highly focused, have low throughput, and generally require special equipment and expertise. These specialized techniques are best used to support hypotheses generated by an initial broad-based survey, like the one described here. In this chapter, we outline a 2D gel-based phosphoproteomic methodology based on relatively inexpensive materials and basic, widely available MS technology. The goal is to provide a preparative and analytical laboratory framework that can generate the samples and hypotheses for phosphoproteomic MS, as well as a set of tools for biologically relevant phosphoproteomics for investigators who do not have ready access to phospo-MS technology. The combination of 2D gel-compatible metal-oxide affinity chromatography (MOAC)-based phosphoprotein enrichment and phospho-specific staining provides both the sensitivity necessary to make low-level phosphoproteins observable and identifiable, and the twofold phospho-selectivity to support their identity as phosphoproteins. An on-blot dephosphorylation assay for verifying the phospho-specificity of the enrichment method is also described here and provides a general tool for the validation of protein phosphorylation.