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Trypsin Immobilization on Three Monolithic Disks for On-Line Protein Digestion

R. Nicoli, N. Gaud, C. Stella, S. Rudaz, J.-L. Veuthey

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 48 (2008) 398–407

The preparation and characterization of three trypsin-based monolithic immobilized enzyme reactors (IMERs) developed to perform rapid on-line protein digestion and peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) are described. Trypsin (EC 3.4.21.4) was covalently immobilized on epoxy, carbonyldiimidazole (CDI) and ethylenediamine (EDA) Convective Interaction Media® (CIM) monolithic disks. The amount of immobilized enzyme, determined by spectrophotometric measurements at 280 nm, was comprised between 0.9 and 1.5 mg per disk. Apparent kinetic parameters K*m and V*max, as well as apparent immobilized trypsin BAEE-units, were estimated in flow-through conditions using N-α-benzoyl-l-arginine ethyl ester (BAEE) as a low molecular mass substrate. The on-line digestion of five proteins (cytochrome c, myoglobin, α1-acid glycoprotein, ovalbumin and albumin) was evaluated by inserting the IMERs into a liquid chromatography system coupled to an electrospray ionization ion-trap mass spectrometer (LC-ESI–MS/MS) through a switching valve. Results were compared to the in-solution digestion in terms of obtained scores, number of matched queries and sequence coverages. The most efficient IMER was obtained by immobilizing trypsin on a CIM® EDA disk previously derivatized with glutaraldehyde, as a spacer moiety. The proteins were recognized by the database with satisfactory sequence coverage using a digestion time of only 5 min. The repeatability of the digestion (R.S.D. of 5.4% on consecutive injections of myoglobin 12 μM) and the long-term stability of this IMER were satisfactory since no loss of activity was observed after 250 injections.

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