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Improving deep proteome and PTMome coverage using tandem HILIC-HPRP peptide fractionation strategy

Sun, Zeyu, Ji, Feiyang, Jiang, Zhengyi, Li, Lanjuan
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2019 v.411 no.2 pp. 459-469
algorithms, fractionation, hydrophilic interaction chromatography, hydrophobicity, peptides, post-translational modification, proteins, proteome, proteomics
Despite being orthogonal to reverse-phase separation and valuable for posttranslational modification (PTM) pre-enrichment, hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) has not been widely adopted for large-scale proteomic applications. Here, we first evaluated the performance of HILIC in comparison with the popular high-pH reverse-phase (HPRP) separation, as the first dimension for tryptic peptide fractionation in a shotgun workflow to characterize the complex 293T cell proteome. The data indicated that the complementary nature of HILIC and HPRP for peptide separation was mainly due to different hydrophobicity preferences. Realizing that uncaptured components from one mode can be resolved in the other mode, we then designed and compared two multidimensional separation schemes using HILIC and HPRP in tandem for peptide prefractionation, in terms of identification efficiency and coverage at peptide, protein, and PTM levels. A total of 22,604 and 23,566 peptides corresponding to 4481 and 4436 proteins from 293T cell lysate were detected using HILIC-HPRP- and HPRP-HILIC-based shotgun proteomics workflow, respectively. In addition, without assistance of enrichment techniques, the tandem fractionation methods aided to identify 46 different PTMs from over 10,000 of spectra using blind modification search algorithm. We concluded that HILIC is a valuable alternative option for peptide prefractionation in a large-scale proteomic study, but can be further augmented with the use of a secondary HPRP separation.