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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2011 Oct;22(10):1784-93. doi: 10.1007/s13361-011-0196-7. Epub 2011 Jul 9.

ETD in a traveling wave ion guide at tuned Z-spray ion source conditions allows for site-specific hydrogen/deuterium exchange measurements.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.


The recent application of electron transfer dissociation (ETD) to measure the hydrogen exchange of proteins in solution at single-residue resolution (HX-ETD) paves the way for mass spectrometry-based analyses of biomolecular structure at an unprecedented level of detail. The approach requires that activation of polypeptide ions prior to ETD is minimal so as to prevent undesirable gas-phase randomization of the deuterium label from solution (i.e., hydrogen scrambling). Here we explore the use of ETD in a traveling wave ion guide of a quadrupole-time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer with a "Z-spray" type ion source, to measure the deuterium content of individual residues in peptides. We systematically identify key parameters of the Z-spray ion source that contribute to collisional activation and define conditions that allow ETD experiments to be performed in the traveling wave ion guide without gas-phase hydrogen scrambling. We show that ETD and supplemental collisional activation in a subsequent traveling wave ion guide allows for improved extraction of residue-specific deuterium contents in peptides with low charge. Our results demonstrate the feasibility, and illustrate the advantages of performing HX-ETD experiments on a high-resolution Q-TOF instrument equipped with traveling wave ion guides. Determination of parameters of the Z-spray ion source that contribute to ion heating are similarly pertinent to a growing number of MS applications that also rely on an energetically gentle transfer of ions into the gas-phase, such as the analysis of biomolecular structure by native mass spectrometry in combination with gas-phase ion-ion/ion-neutral reactions or ion mobility spectrometry.

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2011

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