A convenient purification and preconcentration of peptides with alpha-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid matrix crystals in a pipette tip for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry.J Mass Spectrom. 2010 Jan; 45(1):104-11.JM
Peptide samples derived from enzymatic in-gel digestion of proteins resolved by gel electrophoresis often contain high amount of salts originating from reaction and separation buffers. Different methods are used for desalting prior to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS), e.g. reversed-phase pipette tip purification, on-target washing, adding co-matrices, etc. As a suitable matrix for MALDI MS of peptides, alpha-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA) is frequently used. Crystalline CHCA shows the ability to bind peptides on its surface and because it is almost insoluble in acidic water solutions, the on-target washing of peptide samples can significantly improve MALDI MS signals. Although the common on-target washing represents a simple, cheap and fast procedure, only a small portion of the available peptide solution is efficiently used for the subsequent MS analysis. The present approach is a combination of the on-target washing principle carried out in a narrow-end pipette tip (e.g. GELoader tip) and preconcentration of peptides from acidified solution by passing it through small CHCA crystals captured inside the tip on a glass microfiber frit. The results of MALDI MS analysis using CHCA-tip peptide preconcentration are comparable with the use of homemade POROS R2 pipette tip microcolumns. Advantages and limitations of this approach are discussed.