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Direct comparison of infrared and ultraviolet wavelength matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry of proteins

  • Shufang Niu
  • Wenzhu Zhang
  • Brian T. Chait
Articles

Abstract

In an effort to gain an understanding of the processes governing matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), we made a direct comparison of ultraviolet (UV)- and infrared (IR)-MALDI linear time-of-flight mass spectra of proteins obtained from the same samples and matrices (on the same sample surface), using two different lasers, each having short duration (<10-ns) pulses, i.e., a tunable wavelength Nd:yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) pumped optical parametric oscillator laser operating at 2.94 µm and a Nd:YAG laser operating at 355 nm. We observed that (1) the IR-MALDI and UV-MALDI spectra of a given protein from the same matrix were strikingly similar; (2) protein ions produced by IR-MALDI experienced less fragmentation than those produced by UV-MALDI; and (3) photochemical adducts produced during UV-MALDI were absent in IR-MALDI. These results lead us to speculate on the mechanisms for the ionization process in UV- and IR-MALDI. Because photons with a wavelength of ∼3 µm are unlikely to effect electronic excitation of the matrix at the irradiance used for MALDI, we propose that ionization in IR-MALDI occurs as a natural consequence of the solid-to-gas phase transition induced by the IR irradiation, and involves proton transfer reactions in the intermediate phase between solid and gas. The strikingly similar UV- and IR-MALDI mass spectra leads us to the additional proposal that ionization in UV-MALDI may also be a natural consequence of the phase transition and that electronic excitation may not play a primary role in the ionization process.

Keywords

MALDI Succinic Acid Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Optical Parametric Oscillator Laser Shot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA

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