Post-translational modifications and mass spectrometry detection

André M.N. Silva, Rui Vitorino, M. Rosário M. Domingues, Corinne M. Spickett, Pedro Domingues*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this review, we provide a comprehensive bibliographic overview of the role of mass spectrometry and the recent technical developments in the detection of post-translational modifications (PTMs). We briefly describe the principles of mass spectrometry for detecting PTMs and the protein and peptide enrichment strategies for PTM analysis, including phosphorylation, acetylation and oxidation. This review presents a bibliographic overview of the scientific achievements and the recent technical development in the detection of PTMs is provided. In order to ascertain the state of the art in mass spectrometry and proteomics methodologies for the study of PTMs, we analyzed all the PTM data introduced in the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) and the literature published in the last three years. The evolution of curated data in UniProt for proteins annotated as being post-translationally modified is also analyzed. Additionally, we have undertaken a careful analysis of the research articles published in the years 2010 to 2012 reporting the detection of PTMs in biological samples by mass spectrometry. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-941
Number of pages17
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Early online date31 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Free radical biology and medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Silva, AMN, Vitorino, R, Domingues, MRM, Spickett, CM & Domingues, P, 'Post-translational modifications and mass spectrometry detection' Free radical biology and medicine, vol 65 (2013) DOI

Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal), European Union, QREN, FEDER and COMPETE for funding the QOPNA research unit (project PEst-C/QUI/UI0062/2013); the Portuguese National MS Network, also supported by funds from FCT and to the project “New Strategies Applied to Neuro-pathological Disorders”, co-funded by QREN and EU, and COST
Action COST CM1001. FCT for the Post Ph.D. grant (SFRH/BPD/64296/2009). Proxomics project (EP/I017887/1) for support.

Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in the online version at


  • literature review
  • mass spectrometry
  • post-translational modifications


Dive into the research topics of 'Post-translational modifications and mass spectrometry detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this