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International Journal of Proteomics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 460261, 8 pages
Research Article

Characterization of the Phosphoproteome in Human Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA
2Corporate Preclinical R&D, Analytics and Early Formulations Department, Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A., 43122 Parma, Italy
3Department of Neurology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, 38163 TN, USA
4Charles B. Stout Neuroscience Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, 38163 TN, USA

Received 15 May 2012; Revised 28 June 2012; Accepted 1 July 2012

Academic Editor: Visith Thongboonkerd

Copyright © 2012 Francesco Giorgianni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Global-scale examination of protein phosphorylation in human biological fluids by phosphoproteomics approaches is an emerging area of research with potential for significant contributions towards discovery of novel biomarkers. In this pilot work, we analyzed the phosphoproteome in human bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) from nondiseased subjects. The main objectives were to assess the feasibility to probe phosphorylated proteins in human BAL and to obtain the initial catalog of BAL phosphoproteins, including protein identities and exact description of their phosphorylation sites. We used a gel-free bioanalytical workflow that included whole-proteome digestion of depleted BAL proteins, enrichment of phosphopeptides by immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC), LC-MS/MS analyses with a linear ion trap mass spectrometer, and searches of a protein sequence database to generate a panel of BAL phosphoproteins and their sites of phosphorylation. Based on sequence-diagnostic MS/MS fragmentation patterns, we identified a collection of 36 phosphopeptides that contained 26 different phosphorylation sites. These phosphopeptides mapped to 21 phosphoproteins including, for example, vimentin, plastin-2, ferritin heavy chain, kininogen-1, and others. The characterized phosphoproteins have diverse characteristics in terms of cellular origin and biological function. To the best of our knowledge, results of this study represent the first description of the human BAL phosphoproteome.