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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2008 Nov;19(11):1655-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jasms.2008.07.005. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

A study of phospholipids by ion mobility TOFMS.

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  • 1National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Intramural Research Program (IRP), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


Combining matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry with ion mobility (IM) results in the fast sorting of biomolecules in complex mixtures along trend lines. In this two-dimensional (2D) analysis of biological families, lipids, peptides, and nucleotides are separated from each other by differences in their ion mobility drift times in a timescale of hundreds of microseconds. Molecular ions of similar chemical type fall along trend lines when plotted in 2D plots of ion mobility drift time as a function of m/z. In this study, MALDI-IM MS is used to analyze species from all of the major phospholipid classes. Complex samples, including tissue extracts and sections, were probed to demonstrate the effects that radyl chain length, degree of unsaturation, and class/head group have upon an ion's cross section in the gas phase. We illustrate how these changes can be used to identify individual lipid species in complex mixtures, as well as the effects of cationization on ion cross section and ionization efficiency.

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