Electrospray Droplet Exposure to Organic Vapors: Metal Ion Removal from Proteins and Protein Complexes

2015-01-20T00:00:00Z (GMT) by J. Corinne DeMuth Scott A. McLuckey
The exposure of aqueous nanoelectrospray droplets to various organic vapors can dramatically reduce sodium adduction on protein ions in positive ion mass spectra. Volatile alcohols, such as methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol lead to a significant reduction in sodium ion adduction but are not as effective as acetonitrile, acetone, and ethyl acetate. Organic vapor exposure in the negative ion mode, on the other hand, has essentially no effect on alkali ion adduction. Evidence is presented to suggest that the mechanism by which organic vapor exposure reduces alkali ion adduction in the positive mode involves the depletion of alkali metal ions via ion evaporation of metal ions solvated with organic molecules. The early generation of metal/organic cluster ions during the droplet desolvation process results in fewer metal ions available to condense on the protein ions formed via the charged residue mechanism. These effects are demonstrated with holomyoglobin ions to illustrate that the metal ion reduction takes place without detectable protein denaturation, which might be revealed by heme loss or an increase in charge state distribution. No evidence is observed for denaturation with exposure to any of the organic vapors evaluated in this work.