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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2014 Jan;25(1):80-7. doi: 10.1007/s13361-013-0759-x. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Intact microRNA analysis using high resolution mass spectrometry.

Author information

1
Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection, Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, 94304, USA.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small single-stranded non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression, and play key roles in the regulation of a variety of cellular processes and in disease. New tools to analyze miRNAs will add understanding of the physiological origins and biological functions of this class of molecules. In this study, we investigate the utility of high resolution mass spectrometry for the analysis of miRNAs through proof-of-concept experiments. We demonstrate the ability of mass spectrometry to resolve and separate miRNAs and corresponding 3' variants in mixtures. The mass accuracy of the monoisotopic deprotonated peaks from various miRNAs is in the low ppm range. We compare fragmentation of miRNA by collision-induced dissociation (CID) and by higher-energy collisional dissociation (HCD) which yields similar sequence coverage from both methods but additional fragmentation by HCD versus CID. We measure the linear dynamic range, limit of detection, and limit of quantitation of miRNA loaded onto a C18 column. Lastly, we explore the use of data-dependent acquisition of MS/MS spectra of miRNA during online LC-MS and demonstrate that multiple charge states can be fragmented, yielding nearly full sequence coverage of miRNA on a chromatographic time scale. We conclude that high resolution mass spectrometry allows the separation and measurement of miRNAs in mixtures and a standard LC-MS setup can be adapted for online analysis of these molecules.

PMID:
24174127
PMCID:
PMC4153431
DOI:
10.1007/s13361-013-0759-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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