A new liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) method is described for relative quantification of phosphoproteins to simultaneously compare the phosphorylation status of proteins under two different conditions. Quantification was achieved by beta-elimination of phosphate from phospho-Ser/Thr followed by Micheal addition of ethanethiol and/or ethane-d(5)-thiol selectively at the vinyl moiety of dehydroalanine and dehydroamino-2-butyric acid. The method was evaluated using the model phosphoprotein alpha(S1)-casein, for which three phosphopeptides were found after tryptic digestion. Reproducibility of the relative quantification of seven independent replicates was found to be 11% SD. The dynamic range covered two orders of magnitude, and quantification was linear for mixtures of 0 to 100% alpha(S1)-casein and dephospho-alpha(S1)-casein (R(2) = 0.986). Additionally, the method allowed protein identification and determination of the phosphorylation sites via MS/MS fragmentation.
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