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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2008 Jun;19(6):790-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jasms.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 Apr 3.

Influence of charge state and sodium cationization on the electron detachment dissociation and infrared multiphoton dissociation of glycosaminoglycan oligosaccharides.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.


Electron detachment dissociation (EDD) Fourier transform mass spectrometry has recently been shown to be a useful method for tandem mass spectrometry analysis of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). EDD produces abundant glycosidic and cross-ring fragmentations that are useful for localizing sites of sulfation in GAG oligosaccharides. Although EDD fragmentation can be used to characterize GAGs in a single tandem mass spectrometry experiment, SO3 loss accompanies many peaks and complicates the resulting mass spectra. In this work we demonstrate the ability to significantly decrease SO3 loss by selection of the proper ionized state of GAG precursor ions. When the degree of ionization is greater than the number of sulfate groups in an oligosaccharide, a significant reduction in SO3 loss is observed in the EDD mass spectra. These data suggested that SO3 loss is reduced when an electron is detached from carboxylate groups instead of sulfate. Electron detachment occurs preferentially from carboxylate versus sulfate for thermodynamic reasons, provided that carboxylate is in its ionized state. Ionization of the carboxylate group is achieved by selecting the appropriate precursor ion charge state, or by the replacement of protons with sodium cations. Increasing the ionization state by sodium cation addition decreases, but does not eliminate, SO3 loss from infrared multiphoton dissociation of the same GAG precursor ions.

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