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Proton-Driven Amide Bond-Cleavage Pathways of Gas-Phase Peptide Ions Lacking Mobile Protons

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journal contribution
posted on 07.10.2009, 00:00 by Benjamin J. Bythell, Sándor Suhai, Árpád Somogyi, Béla Paizs
The mobile proton model (Dongré, A. R.; Jones, J. L.; Somogyi, A.; Wysocki, V. H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1996, 118, 8365−8374) of peptide fragmentation states that the ionizing protons play a critical role in the gas-phase fragmentation of protonated peptides upon collision-induced dissociation (CID). The model distinguishes two classes of peptide ions, those with or without easily mobilizable protons. For the former class mild excitation leads to proton transfer reactions which populate amide nitrogen protonation sites. This enables facile amide bond cleavage and thus the formation of b and y sequence ions. In contrast, the latter class of peptide ions contains strongly basic functionalities which sequester the ionizing protons, thereby often hindering formation of sequence ions. Here we describe the proton-driven amide bond cleavages necessary to produce b and y ions from peptide ions lacking easily mobilizable protons. We show that this important class of peptide ions fragments by different means from those with easily mobilizable protons. We present three new amide bond cleavage mechanisms which involve salt-bridge, anhydride, and imine enol intermediates, respectively. All three new mechanisms are less energetically demanding than the classical oxazolone bn-ym pathway. These mechanisms offer an explanation for the formation of b and y ions from peptide ions with sequestered ionizing protons which are routinely fragmented in large-scale proteomics experiments.

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