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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2014 Aug;25(8):1412-20. doi: 10.1007/s13361-014-0908-x. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Structural distinction of diacyl-, alkylacyl, and alk-1-enylacyl glycerophosphocholines as [M - 15]⁻ ions by multiple-stage linear ion-trap mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization.

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Mass Spectrometry Resource, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA,


We describe a linear ion-trap (LIT) multiple-stage (MS(n)) mass spectrometric approach towards differentiation of alkylacyl, alk-1-enylacyl- and diacyl-glycerophoscholines (PCs) as the [M - 15]⁻ ions desorbed by electrospray ionization (ESI) in the negative-ion mode. The MS⁴ mass spectra of the [M - 15 - R²'CH = CO]⁻ ions originated from the three PC subfamilies are readily distinguishable, resulting in unambiguous distinction of the lipid classes. This method is applied to two alkyl ether rich PC mixtures isolated from murine bone marrow neutrophils and kidney, respectively, to explore its utility in the characterization of complex PC mixture of biological origin, resulting in the realization of the detailed structures of the PC species, including various classes and many minor isobaric isomers.

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