Publications by authors named "Luisa Rusconi"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Discovery of Entrectinib: A New 3-Aminoindazole As a Potent Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK), c-ros Oncogene 1 Kinase (ROS1), and Pan-Tropomyosin Receptor Kinases (Pan-TRKs) inhibitor.

J Med Chem 2016 Apr 30;59(7):3392-408. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl , Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase responsible for the development of different tumor types. Despite the remarkable clinical activity of crizotinib (Xalkori), the first ALK inhibitor approved in 2011, the emergence of resistance mutations and of brain metastases frequently causes relapse in patients. Within our ALK drug discovery program, we identified compound 1, a novel 3-aminoindazole active on ALK in biochemical and in cellular assays. Its optimization led to compound 2 (entrectinib), a potent orally available ALK inhibitor active on ALK-dependent cell lines, efficiently penetrant the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in different animal species and highly efficacious in in vivo xenograft models. Moreover, entrectinib resulted to be strictly potent on the closely related tyrosine kinases ROS1 and TRKs recently found constitutively activated in several tumor types. Entrectinib is currently undergoing phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of patients affected by ALK-, ROS1-, and TRK-positive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00064DOI Listing
April 2016

Identification of candidate substrates for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-2 (PARP2) in the absence of DNA damage using high-density protein microarrays.

FEBS J 2011 Oct 6;278(19):3676-87. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Department of Biotechnology, BU Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-2 (PARP2) belongs to the ADP-ribosyltransferase family of enzymes that catalyze the addition of ADP-ribose units to acceptor proteins, thus affecting many diverse cellular processes. In particular, PARP2 shares with PARP1 and, as recently highlighted, PARP3 the sole property of being catalytically activated by DNA-strand breaks, implying key downstream functions in the cellular response to DNA damage for both enzymes. However, evidence from several studies suggests unique functions for PARP2 in additional processes, possibly mediated through its basal, DNA-damage unstimulated ADP-ribosylating activity. Here, we describe the development and application of a protein microarray-based approach tailored to identify proteins that are ADP-ribosylated by PARP2 in the absence of DNA damage mimetics and might thus represent useful entry points to the exploration of novel PARP2 functions. Several candidate substrates for PARP2 were identified and global hit enrichment analysis showed a clear enrichment in translation initiation and RNA helicase molecular functions. In addition, the top scoring candidates FK506-binding protein 3 and SH3 and cysteine-rich domain-containing protein 1 were selected and confirmed in a complementary assay format as substrates for unstimulated PARP2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2011.08286.xDOI Listing
October 2011

Targeting the mitotic checkpoint for cancer therapy with NMS-P715, an inhibitor of MPS1 kinase.

Cancer Res 2010 Dec;70(24):10255-64

Department of Cell Biology-Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Viale Pasteur 10, Nerviano 20014, Italy.

MPS1 kinase is a key regulator of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), a mitotic mechanism specifically required for proper chromosomal alignment and segregation. It has been found aberrantly overexpressed in a wide range of human tumors and is necessary for tumoral cell proliferation. Here we report the identification and characterization of NMS-P715, a selective and orally bioavailable MPS1 small-molecule inhibitor, which selectively reduces cancer cell proliferation, leaving normal cells almost unaffected. NMS-P715 accelerates mitosis and affects kinetochore components localization causing massive aneuploidy and cell death in a variety of tumoral cell lines and inhibits tumor growth in preclinical cancer models. Inhibiting the SAC could represent a promising new approach to selectively target cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2101DOI Listing
December 2010

Crystal structures of anaplastic lymphoma kinase in complex with ATP competitive inhibitors.

Biochemistry 2010 Aug;49(32):6813-25

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase involved in the development of several human cancers and, as a result, is a recognized target for the development of small-molecule inhibitors for the treatment of ALK-positive malignancies. Here, we present the crystal structures of the unphosphorylated human ALK kinase domain in complex with the ATP competitive ligands PHA-E429 and NVP-TAE684. Analysis of these structures provides valuable information concerning the specific characteristics of the ALK active site as well as giving indications about how to obtain selective ALK inhibitors. In addition, the ALK-KD-PHA-E429 structure led to the identification of a potential regulatory mechanism involving a link made between a short helical segment immediately following the DFG motif and an N-terminal two-stranded beta-sheet. Finally, mapping of the activating mutations associated with neuroblastoma onto our structures may explain the roles these residues have in the activation process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi1005514DOI Listing
August 2010

Identification of Myb-binding protein 1A (MYBBP1A) as a novel substrate for aurora B kinase.

J Biol Chem 2010 Apr 22;285(16):11775-85. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Nerviano Medical Sciences, Nerviano 20014 MI, Italy.

Aurora kinases are mitotic enzymes involved in centrosome maturation and separation, spindle assembly and stability, and chromosome condensation, segregation, and cytokinesis and represent well known targets for cancer therapy because their deregulation has been linked to tumorigenesis. The availability of suitable markers is of crucial importance to investigate the functions of Auroras and monitor kinase inhibition in in vivo models and in clinical trials. Extending the knowledge on Aurora substrates could help to better understand their biology and could be a source for clinical biomarkers. Using biochemical, mass spectrometric, and cellular approaches, we identified MYBBP1A as a novel Aurora B substrate and serine 1303 as the major phosphorylation site. MYBBP1A is phosphorylated in nocodazole-arrested cells and is dephosphorylated upon Aurora B silencing or by treatment with Danusertib, a small molecule inhibitor of Aurora kinases. Furthermore, we show that MYBBP1A depletion by RNA interference causes mitotic progression delay and spindle assembly defects. MYBBP1A has until now been described as a nucleolar protein, mainly involved in transcriptional regulation. The results presented herein show MYBBP1A as a novel Aurora B kinase substrate and reveal a not yet recognized link of this nucleolar protein to mitosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.068312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852913PMC
April 2010

A Perl procedure for protein identification by Peptide Mass Fingerprinting.

BMC Bioinformatics 2009 Oct 15;10 Suppl 12:S11. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, Pavia, Italy.

Background: One of the topics of major interest in proteomics is protein identification. Protein identification can be achieved by analyzing the mass spectrum of a protein sample through different approaches. One of them, called Peptide Mass Fingerprinting (PMF), combines mass spectrometry (MS) data with searching strategies in a suitable database of known protein to provide a list of candidate proteins ranked by a score. To this aim, several algorithms and software tools have been proposed. However, the scoring methods and mainly the statistical evaluation of the results can be significantly improved.

Results: In this work, a Perl procedure for protein identification by PMF, called MsPI (Mass spectrometry Protein Identification), is presented. The implemented scoring methods were derived from the literature. MsPI implements a strategy to remove the contaminant masses present in the acquired spectra. Moreover, MsPI includes a statistical method to assign to each candidate protein, in addition to the scoring value, a p-value. Results obtained by MsPI on a dataset of 10 protein samples were compared with those achieved using two other software tools, i.e. Piums and Mascot. Piums implements one of the scoring methods available in MsPI, while Mascot is one of the most frequently used software tools in the protein identification field. MsPI scripts are available for downloading on the web site http://aimed11.unipv.it/MsPI.

Conclusion: The performances of MsPI seem to be better than those of Piums and Mascot. In fact, on the considered dataset, MsPI includes in its candidate proteins list, the "true" proteins nine times over ten, whereas Piums includes in its list the "true" proteins only four time over ten. Even if Mascot also correctly includes in the candidates list the "true" proteins nine times over ten, it provides longer candidate lists, therefore increasing the number of false positives when the molecular weight of the proteins in the sample is approximatively known (e.g. by the 1-D/2-D electrophoresis gel). Moreover, being MsPI a Perl tool, it can be easily extended and customized by the final users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-10-S12-S11DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762060PMC
October 2009

The structure of P-TEFb (CDK9/cyclin T1), its complex with flavopiridol and regulation by phosphorylation.

EMBO J 2008 Jul 19;27(13):1907-18. Epub 2008 Jun 19.

Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

The positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) (CDK9/cyclin T (CycT)) promotes mRNA transcriptional elongation through phosphorylation of elongation repressors and RNA polymerase II. To understand the regulation of a transcriptional CDK by its cognate cyclin, we have determined the structures of the CDK9/CycT1 and free cyclin T2. There are distinct differences between CDK9/CycT1 and the cell cycle CDK CDK2/CycA manifested by a relative rotation of 26 degrees of CycT1 with respect to the CDK, showing for the first time plasticity in CDK cyclin interactions. The CDK9/CycT1 interface is relatively sparse but retains some core CDK-cyclin interactions. The CycT1 C-terminal helix shows flexibility that may be important for the interaction of this region with HIV TAT and HEXIM. Flavopiridol, an anticancer drug in phase II clinical trials, binds to the ATP site of CDK9 inducing unanticipated structural changes that bury the inhibitor. CDK9 activity and recognition of regulatory proteins are governed by autophosphorylation. We show that CDK9/CycT1 autophosphorylates on Thr186 in the activation segment and three C-terminal phosphorylation sites. Autophosphorylation on all sites occurs in cis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2008.121DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2486423PMC
July 2008

PHA-739358, a potent inhibitor of Aurora kinases with a selective target inhibition profile relevant to cancer.

Mol Cancer Ther 2007 Dec;6(12 Pt 1):3158-68

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l.-Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

PHA-739358 is a small-molecule 3-aminopyrazole derivative with strong activity against Aurora kinases and cross-reactivities with some receptor tyrosine kinases relevant for cancer. PHA-739358 inhibits all Aurora kinase family members and shows a dominant Aurora B kinase inhibition-related cellular phenotype and mechanism of action in cells in vitro and in vivo. p53 status-dependent endoreduplication is observed upon treatment of cells with PHA-739358, and phosphorylation of histone H3 in Ser(10) is inhibited. The compound has significant antitumor activity in different xenografts and spontaneous and transgenic animal tumor models and shows a favorable pharmacokinetic and safety profile. In vivo target modulation is observed as assessed by the inhibition of the phosphorylation of histone H3, which has been validated preclinically as a candidate biomarker for the clinical phase. Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics modeling was used to define drug potency and to support the prediction of active clinical doses and schedules. We conclude that PHA-739358, which is currently tested in clinical trials, has great therapeutic potential in anticancer therapy in a wide range of cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-0444DOI Listing
December 2007

Crystal structure of the T315I Abl mutant in complex with the aurora kinases inhibitor PHA-739358.

Cancer Res 2007 Sep;67(17):7987-90

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl-Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Mutations in the kinase domain of Bcr-Abl are the most common cause of resistance to therapy with imatinib in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Second-generation Bcr-Abl inhibitors are able to overcome most imatinib-resistant mutants, with the exception of the frequent T315I substitution, which is emerging as a major cause of resistance to these drugs in CML patients. Structural studies could be used to support the drug design process for the development of inhibitors able to target the T315I substitution, but until now no crystal structure of the T315I Abl mutant has been solved. We show here the first crystal structure of the kinase domain of Abl T315I in complex with PHA-739358, an Aurora kinase inhibitor currently in clinical development for solid and hematologic malignancies. This compound inhibits in vitro the kinase activity of wild-type Abl and of several mutants, including T315I. The cocrystal structure of T315I Abl kinase domain provides the structural basis for this activity: the inhibitor associates with an active conformation of the kinase domain in the ATP-binding pocket and lacks the steric hindrance imposed by the substitution of threonine by isoleucine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-1825DOI Listing
September 2007

Structures of the human eIF4E homologous protein, h4EHP, in its m7GTP-bound and unliganded forms.

J Mol Biol 2007 May 20;368(3):691-705. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Department of Chemistry, Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

All eukaryotic cellular mRNAs contain a 5' m(7)GpppN cap. In addition to conferring stability to the mRNA, the cap is required for pre-mRNA splicing, nuclear export and translation by providing an anchor point for protein binding. In translation, the interaction between the cap and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) is important in the recruitment of the mRNAs to the ribosome. Human 4EHP (h4EHP) is a homologue of eIF4E. Like eIF4E it is able to bind the cap but it appears to play a different cellular role, possibly being involved in the fine-tuning of protein expression levels. Here we use X-ray crystallography and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to investigate further the binding of cap analogues and peptides to h4EHP. m(7)GTP binds to 4EHP 200-fold more weakly than it does to eIF4E with the guanine base sandwiched by a tyrosine and a tryptophan instead of two tryptophan residues as seen in eIF4E. The tyrosine resides on a loop that is longer in h4EHP than in eIF4E. The consequent conformational difference between the proteins allows the tyrosine to mimic the six-membered ring of the tryptophan in eIF4E and adopt an orientation that is similar to that seen for equivalent residues in other non-homologous cap-binding proteins. In the absence of ligand the binding site is incompletely formed with one of the aromatic residues being disordered and the side-chain of the other adopting a novel conformation. A peptide derived from the eIF4E inhibitory protein, 4E-BP1 binds h4EHP 100-fold less strongly than eIF4E but in a similar manner. Overall the data, combined with sequence analyses of 4EHP from evolutionary diverse species, strongly support the hypothesis that 4EHP plays a physiological role utilizing both cap-binding and protein-binding functions but which is distinct from eIF4E.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2007.02.019DOI Listing
May 2007

PHA-680632, a novel Aurora kinase inhibitor with potent antitumoral activity.

Clin Cancer Res 2006 Jul;12(13):4080-9

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l.-Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: Aurora kinases play critical roles during mitosis in chromosome segregation and cell division. The aim of this study was to determine the preclinical profile of a novel, highly selective Aurora kinase inhibitor, PHA-680632, as a candidate for anticancer therapy.

Experimental Design: The activity of PHA-680632 was assayed in a biochemical ATP competitive kinase assay. A wide panel of cell lines was evaluated for antiproliferative activity. Cell cycle analysis. Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and Array Scan were used to follow mechanism of action and biomarker modulation. Specific knockdown of the targets by small interfering RNA was followed to validate the observed phenotypes. Efficacy was determined in different xenograft models and in a transgenic animal model of breast cancer.

Results: PHA-680632 is active on a wide range of cancer cell lines and shows significant tumor growth inhibition in different animal tumor models at well-tolerated doses. The mechanism of action of PHA-680632 is in agreement with inhibition of Aurora kinases. Histone H3 phosphorylation in Ser10 is mediated by Aurora B kinase, and our kinetic studies on its inhibition by PHA-680632 in vitro and in vivo show that phosphorylation of histone H3 is a good biomarker to follow activity of PHA-680632.

Conclusions: PHA-680632 is the first representative of a new class of Aurora inhibitors with a high potential for further development as an anticancer therapeutic. On treatment, different cell lines respond differentially, suggesting the absence of critical cell cycle checkpoints that could be the basis for a favorable therapeutic window.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-05-1964DOI Listing
July 2006

Regulation of the wild-type and Y1235D mutant Met kinase activation.

Biochemistry 2005 Nov;44(43):14110-9

Biology Department, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Met receptor tyrosine kinase plays a crucial role in the regulation of a large number of cellular processes and, when deregulated by overexpression or mutations, leads to tumor growth and invasion. The Y1235D mutation identified in metastases was shown to induce constitutive activation and a motile-invasive phenotype on transduced carcinoma cells. Wild-type Met activation requires phosphorylation of both Y1234 and Y1235 in the activation loop. We mapped the major phosphorylation sites in the kinase domain of a recombinant Met protein and identified the known residues Y1234 and Y1235 as well as a new phosphorylation site at Y1194 in the hinge region. Combining activating and silencing mutations at these sites, we characterized in depth the mechanism of activation of wild-type and mutant Met proteins. We found that the phosphotyrosine mimetic mutation Y1235D is sufficient to confer constitutive kinase activity, which is not influenced by phosphorylation at Y1234. However, the specific activity of this mutant was lower than that observed for fully activated wild-type Met and induced less phosphorylation of Y1349 in the signaling site, indicating that this mutation cannot entirely compensate for a phosphorylated tyrosine at this position. The Y1194F silencing mutation yielded an enzyme that could be activated to a similar extent as the wild type but with significantly slower activation kinetics, underlying the importance of this residue, which is conserved among different tyrosine kinase receptors. Finally, we observed different interactions of wild-type and mutant Met with the inhibitor K252a that may have therapeutic implications for the selective inhibition of this kinase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi051242kDOI Listing
November 2005

Searching for biomarkers of Aurora-A kinase activity: identification of in vitro substrates through a modified KESTREL approach.

J Proteome Res 2005 Jul-Aug;4(4):1296-303

Dept of Biology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Aurora-A, -B, and -C are members of a small family of mitotic serine/threonine kinases that regulate centrosome maturation, chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. They are often overexpressed in different human tumor types and have been identified as attractive targets for anticancer drug development. As specific inhibitors of the Aurora kinases are entering phase I clinical trials, there is a high need for appropriate Aurora-A biomarkers to follow mechanism of action or response. To identify novel Aurora-A substrates potentially useful as specific biomarkers we applied several modifications to the original KESTREL (Kinase Substrate Tracking and Elucidation) method in conjunction with gel electrophoresis and MALDI-MS and LC-MS/MS. The major modifications to the method included the introduction of a heating step to inactivate endogenous kinases after cell lysis and the execution of the in vitro kinase reaction in the presence of 5 mM Mg(2+) and at high (1 mM) ATP concentration. Total and fractionated extracts from nocodazole-treated HeLa cells were used as a source of Aurora-A substrates. Using this approach, we were able to detect a number of Aurora-A specific phospholabeled signals and to identify vimentin as a putative Aurora-A substrate. Vimentin was then confirmed as an in vitro substrate of Aurora-A by the phosphorylation of the recombinant protein followed by MS and antibody detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr050018eDOI Listing
October 2005

Crystal structure of the tyrosine kinase domain of the hepatocyte growth factor receptor c-Met and its complex with the microbial alkaloid K-252a.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2003 Oct 14;100(22):12654-9. Epub 2003 Oct 14.

Departments of Chemistry and Biology, Pharmacia S.p.A., Discovery Research, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

The protooncogene c-met codes for the hepatocyte growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase. Binding of its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, stimulates receptor autophosphorylation, which leads to pleiotropic downstream signaling events in epithelial cells, including cell growth, motility, and invasion. These events are mediated by interaction of cytoplasmic effectors, generally through Src homology 2 (SH2) domains, with two phosphotyrosine-containing sequence motifs in the unique C-terminal tail of c-Met (supersite). There is a strong link between aberrant c-Met activity and oncogenesis, which makes this kinase an important cancer drug target. The furanosylated indolocarbazole K-252a belongs to a family of microbial alkaloids that also includes staurosporine. It was recently shown to be a potent inhibitor of c-Met. Here we report the crystal structures of an unphosphorylated c-Met kinase domain harboring a human cancer mutation and its complex with K-252a at 1.8-A resolution. The structure follows the well established architecture of protein kinases. It adopts a unique, inhibitory conformation of the activation loop, a catalytically noncompetent orientation of helix alphaC, and reveals the complete C-terminal docking site. The first SH2-binding motif (1349YVHV) adopts an extended conformation, whereas the second motif (1356YVNV), a binding site for Grb2-SH2, folds as a type II Beta-turn. The intermediate portion of the supersite (1353NATY) assumes a type I Beta-turn conformation as in an Shc-phosphotyrosine binding domain peptide complex. K-252a is bound in the adenosine pocket with an analogous binding mode to those observed in previously reported structures of protein kinases in complex with staurosporine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1734128100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC240673PMC
October 2003

A new approach to phosphoserine and phosphothreonine analysis in peptides and proteins: chemical modification, enrichment via solid-phase reversible binding, and analysis by mass spectrometry.

Anal Bioanal Chem 2003 Jun 7;376(3):366-73. Epub 2003 May 7.

Biology Department, Discovery Research Oncology, Pharmacia Corporation, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Italy.

beta-Elimination of the phosphate group on phosphoserine and phosphothreonine residues and addition of an alkyldithiol is a useful tool for analysis of the phosphorylation states of proteins and peptides. We have explored the influence of several conditions on the efficiency of this PO(4)(3-) elimination reaction upon addition of propanedithiol. In addition to the described influence of different bases, the solvent composition was also found to have a major effect on the yield of the reaction. In particular, an increase in the percentage of DMSO enhances the conversion rate, whereas a higher amount of protic polar solvents, such as water or isopropanol, induces the opposite effect. We have also developed a protocol for enrichment of the modified peptides, which is based on solid-phase covalent capture/release with a dithiopyridino-resin. The procedure for beta-elimination and isolation of phosphorylated peptides by solid-phase capture/release was developed with commercially available alpha-casein. Enriched peptide fragments were characterized by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometric analysis before and after alkylation with iodoacetamide, which allowed rapid confirmation of the purposely introduced thiol moiety. Sensitivity studies, carried out in order to determine the detection limit, demonstrated that samples could be detected even in the low picomolar range by mass spectrometry. The developed solid-phase enrichment procedure based on reversible covalent binding of the modified peptides is more effective and significantly simpler than methods based on the interaction between biotin and avidin, which require additional steps such as tagging the modified peptides and work-up of the samples prior to the affinity capture step.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00216-003-1919-9DOI Listing
June 2003