Collision cross sections for protein ions

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A method for the determination of cross sections for gas-phase protein ions, based on the energy loss of ions as they pass through a collision gas, is described. A simple model relates the energy loss to the number of collisions and hence the cross section. Results from a Monte Carlo model that support the validity of this approach are described. Experimental cross sections are reported for motilin, ubiquitin, cytochrome c, myoglobm, and bovine serum albumin. Cross sections range from approximately 800 Å2 for motilin to approximately 14,000 Å2 for bovine serum albumin and generally increase with the number of charges on the ion. Cytochrome c ions from aqueous solution show somewhat smaller cross sections than ions formed from solutions of higher organic content, suggesting that the gas-phase ions may retain some memory of their solution conformation.