Fe3O4/TiO2 core/shell nanoparticles as affinity probes for the analysis of phosphopeptides using TiO2 surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry

Cheng Tai Chen, Yu-Chie Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

424 Scopus citations


Columns packed with microsized titanium dioxide particles have been used effectively as precolumns for enriching phosphopeptides from complex mixtures. Nanosized titanium dioxide particles have a higher specific surface area and, hence, potentially higher trapping capacities toward phosphopeptides than do microsized particles. Thus, in this study, we employed TiO2-coated magnetic (Fe3O4/TiO2 core/shell) nanoparticles to selectively concentrate phosphopeptides from protein digest products. Because of their magnetic properties, the Fe3O4/TiO2 core/shell nanoparticles that are conjugated to the target peptides can be isolated readily from the sample solutions by employing a magnetic field. In this paper, we also demonstrate that the Fe3O4/TiO 2 core/ shell nanoparticles behave as an effective SALDI matrix: our upper detectable mass limit was ∼24 000 Da, whereas the detection limit for peptides was in the low-femtomole range. That is to say, the target analytes trapped by the Fe3O4/TiO2 nanoparticles can be identified by introducing the particles directly into the mass spectrometer for TiO2-SALDI-MS analysis without the need for any further treatment. For example, elution steps are not necessary when using this approach. In addition, the trapping selectivity of these Fe3O4/TiO 2 nanoparticles toward phosphopeptides was quite good. These properties combine to result in the low detection limits. The lowest detectable concentration of phosphopeptides that we analyzed using this approach was 500 pM for a 100-μL tryptic digest solution of β-casein; this level is much lower than that which can be obtained using any other currently available method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5912-5919
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2005

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