, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp 954-961

Conformer-dependent proton-transfer reactions of ubiquitin ions

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The conformations of ubiquitin ions before and after being exposed to proton transfer reagents have been studied by using ion mobility/mass spectrometry techniques. Ions were produced by electrospray ionization and exposed to acetone, acetophenone, n-butylamine, and 7-methyl-1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-ene. Under the conditions employed, the +4 to +13 charge states were formed and a variety of conformations, which we have characterized as compact, partially folded, and elongated, have been observed. The low charge state ions have cross sections that are similar to those calculated for the crystal conformation. High charge states favor unfolded conformations. The ion mobility distributions recorded after ions have been exposed to each base show that the lowest charge state that is formed during proton-transfer reactions favors a compact conformation. More open conformations are observed for the higher charge states that remain after reaction. The results show that for a given charge state, the apparent gas-phase acidities of the different conformations are ordered as compact < partially folded < elongated.