Chemical Probes for Mass Spectrometric Identification of Cysteines and Caspases
Mass Spectrometry is a powerful tool to analyze protein expression in differential biological states,
and is capable of elucidating molecular pathways that may be
involved in disease. Our research group is particularly interested in using mass spectrometry
to interrogate cysteine proteases, enzymes which are known to regulate diverse pathways
involved in cellular apoptosis and immune signaling. During this fourth year research elective,
we present data on the development of two types of chemical probes that
are currently being used in biological contexts. First, we highlight the synthesis of iodoalkyne
probes that are being used to identify cysteine residues in cellular lysates.
Then, we discuss the use of a pyridine aldehyde probe that we are using to label the N-termini of
proteins and peptides, and will find particular utility in identifying protease substrates. These two
probes will be broadly useful as tools to facilitate mass spectrometric identification cysteine
proteases and their substrates in a variety of biological contexts.