Pepsin immobilized on high-strength hybrid particles for continuous flow online digestion at 10,000 psi.
ABSTRACT: Pepsin was immobilized on ethyl-bridged hybrid (BEH) particles, and digestion performance was evaluated in a completely online format, with the specific intent of using the particles for hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX MS) experiments. Because the BEH particles are mechanically strong, they could withstand prolonged, continuous high-pressure at 10,000 psi. Online digestion was performed under isobaric conditions with continuous solvent flow, in contrast to other approaches where the pressure or flow is cycled. As expected, digestion efficiency at 10,000 psi was increased and reproducibly produced more peptic peptides versus digestion at 1000 psi. Prototype columns made with the BEH pepsin particles exhibited robust performance, and deuterium back-exchange was similar to that of other immobilized pepsin particles. These particles can be easily incorporated in existing HDX MS workflows to provide more peptide coverage in experiments where fast, efficient, and reproducible online pepsin digestion is desired.
Project description:The aspartic protease pepsin is less specific than other endoproteinases. Because aspartic proteases like pepsin are active at low pH, they are utilized in hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX MS) experiments for digestion under hydrogen exchange quench conditions. We investigated the reproducibility, both qualitatively and quantitatively, of online and offline pepsin digestion to understand the compliment of reproducible pepsin fragments that can be expected during a typical pepsin digestion. The collection of reproducible peptides was identified from >30 replicate digestions of the same protein and it was found that the number of reproducible peptides produced during pepsin digestion becomes constant above 5-6 replicate digestions. We also investigated a new aspartic protease from the stomach of the rice field eel (Monopterus albus Zuiew) and compared digestion efficiency and specificity to porcine pepsin and aspergillopepsin. Unique cleavage specificity was found for rice field eel pepsin at arginine, asparagine, and glycine. Different peptides produced by the various proteases can enhance protein sequence coverage and improve the spatial resolution of HDX MS data. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mass spectrometry in structural biology.
Project description:Studies of protein dynamics, structure and interactions using hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) have sharply increased over the past 5-10 years. The predominant technology requires fast digestion at pH 2-3 to retain deuterium label. Pepsin is used almost exclusively, but it provides relatively low efficiency under the constraints of the experiment, and a selectivity profile that renders poor coverage of intrinsically disordered regions. In this study we present nepenthesin-containing secretions of the pitcher plant Nepenthes, commonly called monkey cups, for use in HDX-MS. We show that nepenthesin is at least 1400-fold more efficient than pepsin under HDX-competent conditions, with a selectivity profile that mimics pepsin in part, but also includes efficient cleavage C-terminal to "forbidden" residues K, R, H, and P. High efficiency permits a solution-based analysis with no detectable autolysis, avoiding the complication of immobilized enzyme reactors. Relaxed selectivity promotes high coverage of disordered regions and the ability to "tune" the mass map for regions of interest. Nepenthesin-enriched secretions were applied to an analysis of protein complexes in the nonhomologous end-joining DNA repair pathway. The analysis of XRCC4 binding to the BRCT domains of Ligase IV points to secondary interactions between the disordered C-terminal tail of XRCC4 and remote regions of the BRCT domains, which could only be identified with a nepenthesin-based workflow. HDX data suggest that stalk-binding to XRCC4 primes a BRCT conformation in these remote regions to support tail interaction, an event which may be phosphoregulated. We conclude that nepenthesin is an effective alternative to pepsin for all HDX-MS applications, and especially for the analysis of structural transitions among intrinsically disordered proteins and their binding partners.
Project description:Solution-phase hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) monitored by high-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometry offers a rapid method to study protein conformations and protein-protein interactions. Pepsin is usually used to digest proteins in HDX and is known for lack of cleavage specificity. To improve digestion efficiency and specificity, we have optimized digestion conditions and cleavage preferences for pepsin and protease type XIII from Aspergillus saitoi. A dilution series of the proteases was used to determine the digestion efficiency for several test proteins. Protease type XIII prefers to cleave on the C-terminal end of basic amino acids and produced the highest number of fragments and the best sequence coverage compared to pepsin or protease type XVIII from Rhizhopus. Furthermore, protease type XIII exhibited much less self-digestion than pepsin and thus is superior for HDX experiments. Many highly overlapped segments from protease type XIII and pepsin digestion, combined with high-resolution FTICR mass spectrometry, provide high sequence resolution (to as few as one or two amino acids) for the assignment of amide hydrogen exchange rate. Our H/D exchange results correlate well with the secondary and tertiary structure of myoglobin. Such assignments of highly overlapped fragments promise to greatly enhance the accuracy and sequence resolution for determining conformational differences resulting from ligand binding or protein-protein interactions.
Project description:The local effects of hydration on myoglobin (Mb) in solid matrices containing mannitol or sucrose (1:1 w/w, protein:additive) were mapped using hydrogen-deuterium exchange with mass spectrometric analysis (HDX-MS) at 5 °C and compared to solution controls. Solid powders were exposed to D?O(g) at controlled activity (a(w)) followed by reconstitution and analysis of the intact protein and peptides produced by pepsin digestion. HDX varied with matrix type, a(w), and position along the protein backbone. HDX was less in sucrose matrices than in mannitol matrices at all a(w) while the difference in solution was negligible. Differences in HDX in the two matrices were detectable despite similarities in their bulk water content. The extent of exchange in solids is proposed as a measure of the hydration of exchangeable amide groups, as well as protein conformation and dynamics; pepsin digestion allows these effects to be mapped with peptide-level resolution.
Project description:Hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX MS) reports on the conformational landscape of proteins by monitoring the exchange between backbone amide hydrogen atoms and deuterium in the solvent. To maintain the label for analysis, quench conditions of low temperature and pH are required during the chromatography step performed after protease digestion but before mass spectrometry. Separation at 0°C is often chosen as this is the temperature where the most deuterium can be recovered without freezing of the typical water and acetonitrile mobile phases. Several recent reports of separations at subzero Celsius emphasize the promise for retaining more deuterium and using a much longer chromatographic gradient or direct infusion time. Here we present the construction and validation of a modified Waters nanoACQUITY HDX manager with a third temperature-controlled zone for peptide separations at subzero temperatures. A new Peltier-cooled door replaces the door of a traditional main cooling chamber and the separations and trapping column are routed through the door housing. To prevent freezing, 35% methanol is introduced post online digestion. No new pumps are required and online digestion is performed as in the past. Subzero separations, using conventional HPLC column geometry of 3? m particles in a 1×50mm column, did not result in major changes to chromatographic efficiency when lowering the temperature from 0 to -20°C. There were significant increases in deuterium recovery for both model peptides and biologically relevant protein systems. Given the higher levels of deuterium recovery, expanded gradient programs can be used to allow for higher chromatographic peak capacity and therefore the analysis of larger and more complex proteins and systems.
Project description:To monitor the structural integrity of therapeutic proteins, hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) is increasingly utilized in the pharmaceutical industry. The successful outcome of HDX-MS analyses depends on the sample preparation conditions, which involve the rapid digestion of proteins at 0 °C and pH 2.5. Very few proteases are able to withstand such harsh conditions, with pepsin being the best-known exception, even though its activity is also strongly reduced at 0 °C. Here, we evaluate the usage of a prolyl endopeptidase from Aspergillus niger (An-PEP) for HDX-MS. What makes this protease very attractive is that it cleaves preferentially the hardest to digest amino acid, proline. To our surprise, and in contrast to previous reports, An-PEP activity was found optimal around pH 2.5 and could be further enhanced by urea up to 40%. Under typical HDX-MS conditions and using small amounts of enzyme, An-PEP generated an equivalent number of peptides as pepsin, as exemplified by using the two model systems tetrameric human hemoglobin (Hb) and human IgG4. Interestingly, because An-PEP peptides are shorter than pepsin-generated peptides, higher sequence resolution could be achieved, especially for Pro-containing protein regions in the alpha subunit of Hb, revealing new protected Hb regions that were not observed with pepsin. Due to its Pro-preference and resistance to low pH, we conclude that An-PEP is an archetype enzyme for HDX-MS, highly complementary to pepsin, and especially promising for structural studies on Pro-rich proteins or proteins containing Pro-rich binding domains involved in cellular signaling.
Project description:Localization of the interface between the candidate antibody and its antigen target, commonly known as epitope mapping, is a critical component of the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. With the recent availability of commercial automated systems, hydrogen / deuterium eXchange (HDX) is rapidly becoming the tool for mapping epitopes preferred by researchers in both industry and academia. However, this approach has a significant drawback in that it can be confounded by 'allosteric' structural and dynamic changes that result from the interaction, but occur far from the point(s) of contact. Here, we introduce a 'kinetic' millisecond HDX workflow that suppresses allosteric effects in epitope mapping experiments. The approach employs a previously introduced microfluidic apparatus that enables millisecond HDX labeling times with on-chip pepsin digestion and electrospray ionization. The 'kinetic' workflow also differs from conventional HDX-based epitope mapping in that the antibody is introduced to the antigen at the onset of HDX labeling. Using myoglobin / anti-myoglobin as a model system, we demonstrate that at short 'kinetic' workflow labeling times (i.e., 200 ms), the HDX signal is already fully developed at the 'true' epitope, but is still largely below the significance threshold at allosteric sites. Identification of the 'true' epitope is supported by computational docking predictions and allostery modeling using the rigidity transmission allostery algorithm.
Project description:Although X-ray crystallography is the "gold standard" method for protein higher-order structure analysis, the challenges of antibody crystallization and the time-consuming data analysis involved make this technique unsuitable for routine structural studies of antibodies. In addition, crystallography cannot be used for the structural characterization of an antibody in solution, under conditions where antibody drugs are active. Intact antibodies are also too large and too complex for NMR. Top-down mass spectrometry coupled to hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) is a powerful tool for high-resolution protein structural characterization, but its success declines rapidly as protein size increases. Here we report for the first time a new hybrid "middle-down" HDX approach that overcomes this limitation through enabling the nonspecific enzyme pepsin to perform specific restricted digestion at low pH prior to HPLC separation at subzero temperatures and online electron transfer dissociation (ETD). Three large specific peptic fragments (12 to 25 kDa) were observed from the heavy chain and light chain of a therapeutic antibody Herceptin, together with a few smaller fragments from the middle portion of the heavy chain. The average amino-acid resolutions obtained by ETD were around two residues, with single-residue resolution in many regions. This middle-down approach is also applicable to other antibodies. It provided HDX information on the entire light chain, and 95.3% of the heavy chain, representing 96.8% of the entire antibody (150 kDa). The structural effects of glycosylation on Herceptin were determined at close-to-single residue level by this method.
Project description:Hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) is a well established method for the measurement of solution-phase deuterium incorporation into proteins, which can provide insight into protein conformational mobility. However, most HDX measurements are constrained to regions of the protein where pepsin proteolysis allows detection at peptide resolution. Recently, single-amide resolution deuterium incorporation has been achieved by limiting gas-phase scrambling in the mass spectrometer. This was accomplished by employing a combination of soft ionization and desolvation conditions coupled with the radical-driven fragmentation technique electron transfer dissociation (ETD). Here, a hybrid LTQ-Orbitrap XL is systematically evaluated for its utility in providing single-amide deuterium incorporation for differential HDX analysis of a nuclear receptor upon binding small molecule ligands. We are able to show that instrumental parameters can be optimized to minimize scrambling and can be incorporated into an established and fully automated HDX platform making differential single-amide HDX possible for bottom-up analysis of complex systems. We have applied this system to determine differential single amide resolution HDX data for the peroxizome proliferator activated receptor bound with two ligands of interest.
Project description:The rapid and complete digestion of proteins is important when protein characterization by hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HDX) is coupled with mass spectrometry. We developed a single-pump, online, high-pressure digestion system that relies on UPLC technology to aid in the digestion of proteins. Two model proteins, amyloid beta-peptide 1-42 (Abeta 1-42) and an HIV-1 capsid mutant protein (NBSA), were used to demonstrate the efficacy of the high-pressure system. Both model proteins readily aggregate and are difficult to digest under normal conditions. Our high-pressure system successfully digests these proteins into small, overlapping peptides. The extra information afforded by overlapping peptides allows us to pinpoint HDX protection to protein segments smaller than the digested peptide. The calculated average segment length (ASL) for both model proteins decreased by 2-fold for high-pressure digestion compared to digestion at ambient pressure.