Author(s): Douglass KA, Venter AR
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Abstract Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) requires little to no sample preparation and has been successfully applied to the study of biologically significant macromolecules such as proteins. However, DESI-MS and other ambient methods that use spray desorption to process samples during ionization appear limited to smaller proteins with molecular masses of 25 kDa or less, and a decreasing instrumental response with increasing protein size has often been reported. It has been proposed that this limit results from the inability of some proteins to easily desorb from the surface during DESI sampling. The present study investigates the apparent mass dependence of the instrumental response observed during the DESI-MS analysis of proteins using spray desorption collection and reflective electrospray ionization. Proteins, as large as 66 kDa, are shown to be quantitatively removed from surfaces by using spray desorption collection. However, incomplete dissolution and the formation of protein-protein and protein-contaminant clusters appear to be responsible for the mass-dependent loss in sensitivity for protein analysis. Alternative ambient mass spectrometry approaches that address some of the problems encountered by spray desorption techniques for protein analysis are also discussed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in J Mass Spectrom
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques