Biopolymer sequencing using a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer in the ESI nozzle-skimmer/precursor ion MS/MS mode

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Abstract

A variety of model biopolymers, including oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides and a synthetic pharmaceutical agent, were sequenced using a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer equipped with an electrospray source and operated in a scan mode referred to as pseudo-MS3. This scan mode consists of three steps: (1) in-source collision-induced dissociation (CID) in the nozzle-skimmer (NS) region, (2) scanning of the fragment ions into the collision cell for further CID, and (3) passing of the secondary fragment ions through the final mass filter at a preselected mass, generally corresponding to the mass of a terminal sequence ion for the biopolymer. The mass spectra are recorded in the precursor ion MS/MS mode where ion selection and detection occur at the third stage of the triple quadrupole but the scan function is determined by the first stage. The advantages and limitations in using this pseudo-MS3 NS/precursor ion MS/MS scan mode for biopolymer sequencing are discussed.