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Electrophoresis. 2005 Apr;26(7-8):1254-90.

Advances in the analysis of proteins and peptides by capillary electrophoresis with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization and electrospray-mass spectrometry detection.

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  • 1University of Salzburg, Department of Molecular Biology, Division of Chemistry, Salzburg, Austria.


High throughput, outstanding certainty in peptide/protein identification, exceptional resolution, and quantitative information are essential pillars in proteome research. Capillary electrophoresis (CE) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) has proven to meet these requirements. Soft ionization techniques, such as matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) and electrospray ionization (ESI), have paved the way for the story of success of CE-MS in the analysis of biomolecules and both approaches are subject of discussion in this article. Meanwhile, CE-MS is far away from representing a homogeneous field. Therefore the review will cover a vast area including the coupling of different modes of CE (capillary zone electrophoresis, capillary isoelectric foscusing, capillary electrochromatography, micellar electrokinetic chromatography, nonaqueous capillary electrophoresis) to MS as well as on-line preconcentration techniques (transient capillary isotachophoresis, solid-phase extraction, membrane preconcentration) applied to compensate for restricted detection sensitivity. Special attention is given to improvements in interfacing, namely addressing nanospray and coaxial sheath liquid design. Peptide mapping, collision-induced dissociation with subsequent tandem MS, and amendments in mass accuracy of instruments improve information validity gained from MS data. With 2-D on-line coupling of liquid chromatography (LC) and CE a further topic will be discussed. A special section is dedicated to recent attempts in establishing CE-ESI-MS in proteomics, in the clinical and diagnostic field, and in the food sector.

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