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J Mass Spectrom Soc Jpn. 2005 Jan 5;53(1):7-17.

Tandem Time-of-Flight (TOF/TOF) Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics.

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  • 1Middle Atlantic Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD 21205, U.S.A.).


A dual reflectron tandem time-of-flight (TOF/TOF) mass spectrometer reported in 1993 gave rise to the invention and development of the curved-field reflectron (CFR) for focusing product ions. The CFR is used in this case as the second mass analyzer in a tandem instrument (based on the Kratos AXIMA CFR) in which the first mass analyzer is a linear TOF that focuses ions by pulsed extraction. Because ions can be focused over a broad range of kinetic energies, deceleration of precursor ions and/or reacceleration of product ions is not required. Thus, product ions produced by post-source processes (laser induced dissociation or LID, metastable decomposition and opportunistic collisions) are recorded in the product ion mass spectra at the same times as their isomass ions produced by collision induced dissociation (CID). In general both LID and CID product ion mass spectra are very similar, producing primarily b-series and y-series ions, though there is some preference for fragmentation at weaker bonds such as those at proline or aspartic acid residues. The tandem mass spectrometer has been used to determine the acetylation sites for a histone acetyl transferase (HAT) protein. A novel and improved method for derivatizing tryptic fragments by N-terminal sulfonation produces almost exclusively y-series ions, and has been used to determine protein ubiquitination. The tandem mass spectrometer has also been used to identify potential biomarkers associated with heart failure, in particular that fraction containing albumin that is generally removed from serum samples to permit protein biomarker analysis. Analysis of the unfractionated serum, the albuminome, and the depleted serum is also carried out using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI) and the high molecular weight proteins are monitored by using a Comet macromizer TOF mass spectrometer with a very high mass cryocooled detector.

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