, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 1451-1460
Date: 21 May 2014

Mechanistic Study on Electron Capture Dissociation of the Oligosaccharide-Mg2+ Complex

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Abstract

Electron capture dissociation (ECD) has shown great potential in structural characterization of glycans. However, our current understanding of the glycan ECD process is inadequate for accurate interpretation of the complex glycan ECD spectra. Here, we present the first comprehensive theoretical investigation on the ECD fragmentation behavior of metal-adducted glycans, using the cellobiose-Mg2+ complex as the model system. Molecular dynamics simulation was carried out to determine the typical glycan-Mg2+ binding patterns and the lowest-energy conformer identified was used as the initial geometry for density functional theory-based theoretical modeling. It was found that the electron is preferentially captured by Mg2+ and the resultant Mg+• can abstract a hydroxyl group from the glycan moiety to form a carbon radical. Subsequent radical migration and α-cleavage(s) result in the formation of a variety of product ions. The proposed hydroxyl abstraction mechanism correlates well with the major features in the ECD spectrum of the Mg2+-adducted cellohexaose. The mechanism presented here also predicts the presence of secondary, radical-induced fragmentation pathways. These secondary fragment ions could be misinterpreted, leading to erroneous structural determination. The present study highlights an urgent need for continuing investigation of the glycan ECD mechanism, which is imperative for successful development of bioinformatics tools that can take advantage of the rich structural information provided by ECD of metal-adducted glycans.

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