Phosphorylation is one of the most common forms of protein modification. The most frequent targets for protein phosphorylation in eukaryotes are serine and threonine residues, although tyrosine residues also undergo phosphorylation. Many of the currently applied methods for the detection and localization of protein phosphorylation sites are mass spectrometry-based and are biased against the analysis of tyrosine-phosphorylated residues because of the stability and low reactivity of phosphotyrosines. To overcome this lack of sensitive methods for the detection of phosphotyrosine-containing peptides, we have recently developed a method that is not affected by the more predominant threonine or serine phosphorylation within cells. It is based on the specific detection of immonium ion of phosphotyrosine at 216.043 Da and does not require prior knowledge of the protein sequence. In this report, we describe the first application of this new method in a proteomic strategy. Using anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies for immunoprecipitation and one-dimensional gel electrophoresis, we have identified 10 proteins in the epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway, of which 8 have been shown previously to be involved in epidermal growth factor signaling. Most importantly, in addition to several known tyrosine phosphorylation sites, we have identified five novel sites on SHIP-2, Hrs, Cbl, STAM, and STAM2, most of which were not predicted to be phosphorylated. Because of its sensitivity and selectivity, this approach will be useful in proteomic approaches to study tyrosine phosphorylation in a number of signal transduction pathways.
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