- Tianyang Yan David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ,
- Andrew Palmer David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ,
- Daniel Geiszler University of Michigan Medical School ,
- Dan Polansky University of Michigan Medical School ,
- Ernest Armenta David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ,
- Alexey Nesvizhskii University of Michigan Medical School ,
- Keriann Backus David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Mass spectrometry-based chemoproteomics has enabled functional analysis and small molecule screening at thousands of cysteine residues in parallel. Widely adopted chemoproteomic sample preparation workflows rely on the use of pan-cysteine reactive probes such as iodoacetamide alkyne combined with biotinylation via copper-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) or ‘click chemistry’ for cysteine capture. Despite considerable advances in both sample preparation and analytical platforms, current techniques only sample a small fraction of all cysteines encoded in the human proteome. Extending the recently introduced labile mode of the MSFragger search engine, here we report an in-depth analysis of cysteine biotinylation via click chemistry (CBCC) reagent gas-phase fragmentation during MS/MS analysis. We find that CBCC conjugates produce both known and novel diagnostic fragments and peptide remainder ions. Among these species, we identified a candidate signature ion for CBCC peptides, the oxonium-biotin fragment ion that is generated upon fragmentation of the N(triazole)–C(alkyl) bond together with cyclization. Guided by our empirical comparison of the fragmentation patterns of five CBCC reagent combinations, we achieved enhanced coverage of cysteine labeled peptides. For larger, fragmentation-prone biotinylation reagents, implementation of labile search afforded unique PSMs and provides a roadmap for the utility of such searches in enhancing chemoproteomic peptide coverage.