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Anal Chem. 2002 Mar 1;74(5):976-84.

Oligonucleotide mixture analysis via electrospray and ion/ion reactions in a quadrupole ion trap.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-1393, USA.


Electrospray ionization combined with ion/ion reactions in a quadrupole ion trap can be used for the direct analysis of oligonucleotide mixtures. Elements to the success of this approach include factors related to ionization, ion/ion reactions, and mass analysis. This paper deals with issues regarding the ion polarity combination, viz., positive oligonucleotides/negative charge-transfer agent versus negative oligonucleotides/positive charge-transfer agent. Anions derived from perfluorocarbons appear to be directly applicable to mixtures of positive ions derived from electrospray of oligonucleotides, in direct analogy with positive protein ions. Conditions for forming positive oligonucleotide ions devoid of adducts were more difficult to establish than for forming relatively clean negative oligonucleotide ions. A new approach for manipulating negative ion charge states in the ion trap is described and is based on use of the electric field of the positive charge-transfer agent for storage of high-mass negative ions formed during the ion/ion reaction period. Oxygen cations are shown to be acceptable for charge-state manipulation of mixed-base oligomers but induce fragmentation in polyadenylate homopolymers. Protonated isobutylene (C4H9+), on the other hand, is shown to induce significantly less fragmentation of polyadenylate homopolymers.

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