High-throughput database search and large-scale negative polarity liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with ultraviolet photodissociation for complex proteomic samples

James A. Madsen, Hua Xu, Michelle R. Robinson, Andrew P. Horton, Jared B. Shaw, David K. Giles, Tamer S. Kaoud, Kevin N. Dalby, M. Stephen Trent, Jennifer S. Brodbelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The use of ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) for the activation and dissociation of peptide anions is evaluated for broader coverage of the proteome. To facilitate interpretation and assignment of the resulting UVPD mass spectra of peptide anions, the MassMatrix database search algorithm was modified to allow automated analysis of negative polarity MS/MS spectra. The new UVPD algorithms were developed based on the MassMatrix database search engine by adding specific fragmentation pathways for UVPD. The new UVPD fragmentation pathways in MassMatrix were rigorously and statistically optimized using two large data sets with high mass accuracy and high mass resolution for both MS1 and MS2 data acquired on an Orbitrap mass spectrometer for complex Halobacterium and HeLa proteome samples. Negative mode UVPD led to the identification of 3663 and 2350 peptides for the Halo and HeLa tryptic digests, respectively, corresponding to 655 and 645 peptides that were unique when compared with electron transfer dissociation (ETD), higher energy collision-induced dissociation, and collision-induced dissociation results for the same digests analyzed in the positive mode. In sum, 805 and 619 proteins were identified via UVPD for the Halobacterium and HeLa samples, respectively, with 49 and 50 unique proteins identified in contrast to the more conventional MS/MS methods. The algorithm also features automated charge determination for low mass accuracy data, precursor filtering (including intact charge-reduced peaks), and the ability to combine both positive and negative MS/MS spectra into a single search, and it is freely open to the public. The accuracy and specificity of the Mass- Matrix UVPD search algorithm was also assessed for low resolution, low mass accuracy data on a linear ion trap. Analysis of a known mixture of three mitogen-activated kinases yielded similar sequence coverage percentages for UVPD of peptide anions versus conventional collisioninduced dissociation of peptide cations, and when these methods were combined into a single search, an increase of up to 13% sequence coverage was observed for the kinases. The ability to sequence peptide anions and cations in alternating scans in the same chromatographic run was also demonstrated. Because ETD has a significant bias toward identifying highly basic peptides, negative UVPD was used to improve the identification of the more acidic peptides in conjunction with positive ETD for the more basic species. In this case, tryptic peptides from the cytosolic section of HeLa cells were analyzed by polarity switching nanoLC-MS/MS utilizing ETD for cation sequencing and UVPD for anion sequencing. Relative to searching using ETD alone, positive/negative polarity switching significantly improved sequence coverages across identified proteins, resulting in a 33% increase in unique peptide identifications and more than twice the number of peptide spectral matches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2604-2614
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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