Peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry allows the identification of bone species based on their type I collagen sequence. In the archaeological or paleontological field, PMF is known as zooarchaeology mass spectrometry (ZooMS) and is widely implemented to find markers for most species, including the extinct ones. In addition to the identification of bone species, ZooMS enables dating estimation by measuring the deamidation value of specific peptides. Herein, we report several enhancements to the classical ZooMS technique, which reduces to 10-fold the required bone sample amount (down to the milligram scale) and achieves robust deamidation value calculation in a high-throughput manner. These improvements rely on a 96-well plate samples preparation, a careful optimization of collagen extraction and digestion to avoid spurious post-translational modification production, and PMF at high resolution using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (MALDI-FTICR) analysis. This method was applied to the identification of a hundred bones of herbivores from the Middle Paleolithic site of Caours (Somme, France) well dated from the Eemian Last Interglacial climatic optimum. The method gave reliable species identification to bones already identified by their osteomorphology, as well as to more challenging samples consisting of small or burned bone fragments. Deamidation values of bones originating from the same geological layers have a low standard deviation. The method can be applied to archaeological bone remains and offers a robust capacity to identify traditionally unidentifiable bone fragments, thus increasing the number of identified specimens and providing invaluable information in specific contexts.
Robust High-Throughput Proteomics Identification and Deamidation Quantitation of Extinct Species up to Pleistocene with Ultrahigh-Resolution MALDI-FTICR Mass Spectrometry
by benassi | Oct 4, 2023