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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2000 Jun;11(6):493-504.

Rapidly switchable matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization and electrospray quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry for protein identification.

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Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


We describe a new interface for a prototype quadrupole-quadrupole-time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer (Centaur, Sciex) that allows rapid switching between electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) modes of operation. Instrument performance in both modes is comparable (i.e., resolution approximately 10,000 FWHM, mass accuracy <10 ppm, sensitivity approximately 1 fmol) because the ion source is decoupled from the TOF mass analyzer by extensive gas collisions in the quadrupole stages of the instrument. The capacity to obtain side-by-side high quality ESI and MALDI mass spectra from a single proteolytic mixture greatly facilitates the identification of proteins and elucidation of their primary structures. Improved strategies for protein identification result from this ability to measure spectra using both ionization modes in the same instrument and to perform MS/MS on singly charged as well as multiply charged ions. Examples are provided to demonstrate the utility and performance of the modified instrument.

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