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Native mass spectrometry and collision-induced unfolding (CIU) workflows continue to grow in utilization due to their ability to rapidly characterize protein conformation and stability. To perform these experiments, the instrument must be capable of collisionally activating ions prior to ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) analyses. Trapped ion mobility spectrometry (TIMS) is an ion mobility implementation that has been increasingly adopted due to its inherently high resolution and reduced instrumental footprint. In currently deployed commercial instruments, however, typical modes of collisional activation do not precede IMS analysis, and thus, the instruments are incapable of performing CIU. In this work, we expand on a recently developed method of activating protein ions within the TIMS device and explore its analytical utility toward the unfolding of native-like protein ions. We demonstrate the unfolding of native-like ions of ubiquitin, cytochrome C, β-lactoglobulin, and carbonic anhydrase. These ions undergo extensive unfolding upon collisional activation. Additionally, the improved resolution provided by the TIMS separation uncovers previously obscured unfolding complexity.


Nicholas B Borotto, Kemi E Osho, Talitha Kamakamakamae Richards, Katherine A Graham. Collision-Induced Unfolding of Native-like Protein Ions Within a Trapped Ion Mobility Spectrometry Device. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 2022 Jan 05;33(1):83-89

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PMID: 34870999

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