High-resolution accurate mass measurements of biomolecules using a new electrospray ionization ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer

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Abstract

A novel electrospray ionization/Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer based on a 7-T superconducting magnet was developed for high-resolution accurate mass measurements of large biomolecules. Ions formed at atmospheric pressure using electrospray ionization (ESI) were transmitted (through six differential pumping stages) to the trapped ion cell maintained below 10−9 torr. The increased pumping speed attainable with cryopumping (> 105 L/s) allowed brief pressure excursions to above 10−4 torr, with greatly enhanced trapping efficiencies and subsequent short pumpdown times, facilitating high-resolution mass measurements. A set of electromechanical shutters were also used to minimize the effect of the directed molecular beam produced by the ES1 source and were open only during ion injection. Coupled with the use of the pulsed-valve gas inlet, the trapped ion cell was generally filled to the space charge limit within 100 ms. The use of 10–25 ms ion injection times allowed mass spectra to be obtained from 4 fmol of bovine insulin (Mr 5734) and ubiquitin (Mr 8565, with resolution sufficient to easily resolve the isotopic envelopes and determine the charge states. The microheterogeneity of the glycoprotein ribonuclease B was examined, giving a measured mass of 14,898.74 Da for the most abundant peak in the isotopic envelope of the normally glycosylated protein (i.e., with five mannose and two N-acetylglucosamine residues (an error of approximately 2 ppm) and an average error of approximately 1 ppm for the higher glycosylated and various H3PO4 adducted forms of the protein. Time-domain signals lasting in excess of 80 s were obtained for smaller proteins, producing, for example, a mass resolution of more than 700,000 for the 4+ charge state (m/z 1434) of insulin.