, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp 1932-1940
Date: 01 Dec 2005

Investigation of the presence of b ions in electron capture dissociation mass spectra

Abstract

Previously, we have indicated (Cooper, H.J., et al. Int. J. Mass Spectrom., 2003, 228, 723–728) that electron capture dissociation (ECD) of the doubly protonated peptides, Leu4-Sar-Leu3-Lys-OH, Leu4-Ala-Leu3-Lys-OH, Gly4-Sar-Gly3-Lys-NH2, and Gly3-Pro-Sar-Gly3-Lys-NH2, results in abundant b ions, which derive from fragmentation of backbone amide bonds, a nonstandard fragmentation channel in ECD. The instrumental conditions were such that the possibility that collision-induced dissociation processes were contributing to the observed spectra was eliminated. In a separate study (Fung, Y.M.E., et al. Eur. J. Mass Spectrom., 2004, 10, 449–457. ECD of peptides Arg-(Gly)n-Xxx-(Gly)n-Arg, where Xxx is the amino acid of interest, did not result in b ions. The variation in ECD observed for strikingly similar peptides suggests that the nature of the charge carrier (Arg or Lys) is instrumental in governing the fragmentation channels. Here, we describe the ECD behavior of a suite of model peptides designed such that the nature and position of the charge carrier could be probed. The results suggest that the presence of b ions in ECD spectra is a consequence of both charge carrier and peptide structure. Possible mechanisms for the formation of b ions following electron capture are discussed.

Published online October 25, 2005