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New Reagents for Enhanced Liquid Chromatographic Separation and Charging of Intact Protein Ions for Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2010, 00:00 by Santosh G. Valeja, Jeremiah D. Tipton, Mark R. Emmett, Alan G. Marshall
Electrospray ionization produces multiply charged ions, thereby lowering the mass-to-charge ratio for peptides and small proteins to a range readily accessed by quadrupole ion trap, orbitrap, and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) mass analyzers (m/z = 400−2000). For Fourier transform mass analyzers (orbitrap and ICR), higher charge also improves signal-to-noise ratio, mass resolution, and mass accuracy. Addition of m-nitrobenzyl alcohol (m-NBA) or sulfolane has previously been shown to increase the charge states of proteins. Moreover, polar aprotic dimethylformamide (DMF) improves chromatographic separation of proteolytic peptides for mass analysis of solution-phase protein hydrogen/deuterium exchange for improved (78−96%) sequence coverage. Here, we show that addition of each of the various modifiers (DMF, thiodiglycol, dimethylacetamide, dimethylsulfoxide, and N-methylpyrrolidone) can significantly increase the charge states of proteins up to 78 kDa. Moreover, incorporation of the same modifiers into reversed-phase liquid chromatography solvents improves sensitivity, charging, and chromatographic resolution for intact proteins.

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