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Bovine serum albumin as a universal suppressor of non-specific peptide binding in vials prior to nano-chromatography coupled mass-spectrometry analysis

Kovalchuk, Sergey I., Anikanov, Nikolay A., Ivanova, Olga M., Ziganshin, Rustam H., Govorun, Vadim M.
Analytica chimica acta 2015 v.893 pp. 57-64
amino acids, analytical chemistry, bovine serum albumin, chromatography, ionization, mass spectrometry, metabolomics, proteomics, synthetic peptides
Non-specific binding (NSB) is a well-known problem for any application that deals with ultralow analyte quantities. The modern nano-flow chromatography coupled tandem mass-spectrometry (nanoLC-MS/MS) works with the lowest conceivable analyte concentrations. However, while the NSB problem is widely accepted and investigated for metabolomics and single-peptide medicine-related assays, its impact is not studied for complex peptide mixtures in proteomic applications. In this work peptide NSB to a common plastic autosampler vial was studied for a model mixture of 46 synthetic peptides. A significant NSB level was demonstrated for total peptide concentrations of up to 1 mg mL−1. Different agents were tried for NSB suppression and compatibility with nanoLC-MS/MS analysis: a chaotropic agent, an amino acid mixture, a peptide mixture and a protein solution. The first two were inefficacious. The peptide matrix blocked NSB, however, it also led to analyte ionization suppression in nanoLC-MS/MS. The protein solution (0.1% BSA) efficiently eliminated NSB, while a trap-elute nanoHPLC configuration together with a small-pore reverse-phased sorbent effectively and quantitatively extracted the model peptides and depleted protein material from the sample. Higher protein concentration partially impeded peptide extraction. Thus, the 0.1% BSA solution might be regarded as an effective non-interfering blockader of NSB for sample resuspension and storage in an autosampler prior to LC-MS/MS analysis.