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Anal Chem. 2007 Oct 15;79(20):7883-92. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

MS/MS simplification by 355 nm ultraviolet photodissociation of chromophore-derivatized peptides in a quadrupole ion trap.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A5300, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) of chromophore-modified peptides enhances the capabilities for de novo sequencing in a quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer. Attachment of UV chromophores allows efficient photoactivation of not only the precursor ions but also any fragments that retain the chromophore functionality. For doubly protonated peptides, UVPD leads to a vast reduction in MS/MS complexity. The array of b and y ions typically seen upon collisionally activated dissociation is reduced to a single series of either y or b ions by UVPD depending on the location of the chromophore (i.e., N- or C-terminus). The sulfonation reagent Alexa Fluor 350 (AF350) provided the best overall results for the singly and doubly charged peptides by UVPD. The nonsulfonated analogue of AF350, 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin-3-acetic acid, also led to simplified spectra for doubly charged, but not singly charged, peptides by UVPD. Dinitrophenyl-peptides also yielded simplified spectra by UVPD albeit with a small amount of internal fragments accompanying the series of diagnostic y ions. The success of this MS/MS simplification process stems from extensive secondary fragmentation of any chromophore-containing fragments upon exposure to subsequent laser pulses. Energy-variable UVPD reveals that the abundances of non-chromophore-containing y fragment ions increase linearly with laser pulse energy, suggesting secondary dissociation of these species is insignificant. The abundances of chromophore-containing a/b fragment ions follow a quadratic trend due to the extensive secondary fragmentation at higher laser energies or multiple pulses.

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