Two different ultrasonic energy sources, the sonoreactor and the ultrasonic probe, are compared for enzymatic digestion of proteins for protein identification by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) using the peptide mass fingerprint (PMF) procedure. Variables such as (i) trypsin/protein ratio; (ii) sonication time; (iii) ultrasound amplitude; and (iv) protein concentration are studied and compared. As a general rule, the trypsin/protein ratio and the minimum protein concentration successfully digested are similar with both ultrasonic energy sources. Results showed that the time needed to digest proteins was shorter with the ultrasonic probe, 60 s versus 120 s, for the same amplitude of sonication, 50%. However, lower standard deviations and cleaner MALDI-TOF-MS spectra were obtained with the sonoreactor. In addition, the sonoreactor device provided higher sample throughput (6 samples for the sonoreactor versus 1 sample for the ultrasonic probe) and easier sample handling for lower sample volumes (25 μl). Finally, a comparison of both methodologies for the specific identification of the adenylylsulphate reductase alfa subunit from a complex protein mixture from Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 was done as a proof of the procedure.
- Protein digestion
- Ultrasonic probe