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Enhancing Top-Down Analysis Using Chromophore-Assisted Infrared Multiphoton Dissociation from (Phospho)peptides to Protein Assemblies

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journal contribution
posted on 12.11.2020, 17:09 by Jean-François Greisch, Saar A.M. van der Laarse, Albert J.R. Heck
Infrared multiphoton dissociation (IRMPD) has been used in mass spectrometry to fragment peptides and proteins, providing fragments mostly similar to collisional activation. Using the 10.6 μm wavelength of a CO2 laser, IRMPD suffers from the relative low absorption cross-section of peptides and small proteins. Focusing on top-down analysis, we investigate different means to tackle this issue. We first reassess efficient sorting of phosphopeptides from nonphosphopeptides based on IR-absorption cross-sectional enhancement by phosphate moieties. We subsequently demonstrate that a myo-inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) noncovalent adduct can substantially enhance IRMPD for nonphosphopeptides and that this strategy can be extended to proteins. As a natural next step, we show that native phospho-proteoforms of proteins display a distinct and enhanced fragmentation, compared to their unmodified counterparts, facilitating phospho-group site localization. We then evaluate the impact of size on the IRMPD of proteins and their complexes. When applied to protein complexes ranging from a 365 kDa CRISPR–Cas Csy ribonucleoprotein hetero-decamer, a 800 kDa GroEL homo-tetradecamer in its apo-form or loaded with its ATP cofactor, to a 1 MDa capsid-like homo-hexacontamer, we conclude that while phosphate moieties present in crRNA and ATP molecules enhance IRMPD, an increase in the IR cross-section with the size of the protein assembly also favorably accrues dissociation yields. Overall, our work showcases the versatility of IRMPD in the top-down analysis of peptides, phosphopeptides, proteins, phosphoproteins, ribonucleoprotein assemblies, and large protein complexes.