In this thesis, the vital cell functions performed by integral membrane proteins (IMPs) are briefly discussed. Such proteins are under-represented in most protein studies due to the hydrophobic nature of IMPs, which seriously complicate their solubilization, sample handling, preparation, separation and analysis. Conventional analytical techniques include for example matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDIMS), capillary electrophoresis (CE) and reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). Presented here are methods and protocols, which have been developed especially for IMP and hydrophobic peptide analysis, using the abovementioned techniques.
The fluorinated organic solvent hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) has previously been shown beneficial as an additive for solubilization of hydrophobic analytes, which are poorly soluble in commonly used organic solvents or water. In Papers I-IV, HFIP is successfully exploited as solvent for the investigated IMPs and peptides.
The simple fabrication and the focusing effect of a new structured MALDI target plate are presented in Paper I. This target plate contains concentrating sample spots, specifically designed to provide increased sensitivity for hydrophobic protein and peptide MALDI-MS analysis. When replacing a regular steel target with this new structured MALDI plate, more than a five-fold increase in average sensitivity is achieved for HFIP solubilized hydrophobic peptides. The full-length IMP bacteriorhodopsin (BR) and a cyanogen bromide digest thereof are used as model samples for the development of sample handling procedures in Paper II, and the peptides were used for evaluation of the MALDI-target plate in Paper I. Furthermore, the CE separation of the peptides, fractionation onto the structured MALDI plate and following MS analysis is presented in Paper III. Nine of the ten theoretical BR peptides were detected using this method.
A protocol for the purification and analysis of chloroplast membrane proteins from the green macroalga Ulva lactuca has been described in Paper IV. The highest protein yield was achieved when proteins were extracted in HFIP, directly from the chloroplasts. The MALDI-MS analysis of samples with and without previous RP-HPLC fractionation revealed proteins with molecular weights ranging between 1 and 376 kDa.
In Paper V, a closed-open-closed CE system is presented, containing an open microchannel for off-line MALDI detection. The electroosmotic flow and band broadening of this system has been evaluated.
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , 68 p.
Integral membrane proteins, Hydrophobic peptides, Sample handling, MALDI-TOF-MS, Structured sample support, CE, fraction collection, microchannel