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ClipsMS: An Algorithm for Analyzing Internal Fragments Resulting from Top-Down Mass Spectrometry

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posted on 02.03.2021, 14:35 by Carter Lantz, Muhammad A. Zenaidee, Benqian Wei, Zachary Hemminger, Rachel R. Ogorzalek Loo, Joseph A. Loo
Top-down mass spectrometry (TD-MS) of peptides and proteins results in product ions that can be correlated to polypeptide sequence. Fragments can either be terminal fragments, which contain either the N- or the C-terminus, or internal fragments that contain neither termini. Normally, only terminal fragments are assigned due to the computational difficulties of assigning internal fragments. Here we describe ClipsMS, an algorithm that can assign both terminal and internal fragments generated by top-down MS fragmentation. Further, ClipsMS can be used to locate various modifications on the protein sequence. Using ClipsMS to assign TD-MS generated product ions, we demonstrate that for apo-myoglobin, the inclusion of internal fragments increases the sequence coverage up to 78%. Interestingly, many internal fragments cover complementary regions to the terminal fragments that enhance the information that is extracted from a single top-down mass spectrum. Analysis of oxidized apo-myoglobin using terminal and internal fragment matching by ClipsMS confirmed the locations of oxidation sites on the two methionine residues. Internal fragments can be beneficial for top-down protein fragmentation analysis, and ClipsMS can be a valuable tool for assigning both terminal and internal fragments present in a top-down mass spectrum. Data are available via the MassIVE community resource with the identifiers MSV000086788 and MSV000086789.

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