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Mass Spectrom Rev. 2005 Mar-Apr;24(2):201-22.

The role of electron capture dissociation in biomolecular analysis.

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School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom.


The introduction of electron capture dissociation (ECD) to electrospray (ESI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) constitutes a significant advance in the structural analysis of biomolecules. The fundamental features and benefits of ECD are discussed in this review. ECD is currently unique to FT-ICR MS and the fundamentals of that technique are outlined. The advantages and complementarity of ECD in relation to other tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) techniques, such as infrared multiphoton dissociation (IRMPD) and sustained off-resonance collision-induced dissociation (SORI-CID), are discussed. The instrumental considerations associated with implementation of ECD, including activated ion techniques and coupling to on-line separation techniques, are covered, as are the allied processes electronic excitation dissociation (EED), electron detachment dissociation (EDD), and hot electron capture (HECD). A major theme of this review is the role of ECD in proteomics, particularly for characterization of post-translational modifications (phosphorylation, glycosylation, carboxyglutamic acid, sulfation, acylation, and methionine oxidation) and the top-down approach to protein identification. The application of ECD to the analysis of polymers, peptide nucleic acids, and oligonucleotides is also discussed.

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