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    Multifunctional compounds may form different prototropic isomers under different conditions, which are known as protomers/deprotomers. In biological systems, these protomer/deprotomer isomers affect the interaction modes and conformational landscape between compounds and enzymes and thus present different biological activities. Study on protomers/deprotomers is essentially the study on the acidity/basicity of each intramolecular functional group and its effect on molecular structure. In recent years, the combination of mass spectrometry (MS) and computational chemistry has been proven to be a powerful and effective means to study prototropic isomers. MS-based technologies are developed to discriminate and characterize protomers/deprotomers to provide structural information and monitor transformations, showing great superiority than other experimental methods. Computational chemistry is used to predict the thermodynamic stability of protomers/deprotomers, provide the simulated MS/MS spectra, infrared spectra, and calculate collision cross-section values. By comparing the theoretical data with the corresponding experimental results, the researchers can not only determine the protomer/deprotomer structure, but also investigate the structure-activity relationship in a given system. This review covers various MS methods and theoretical calculations and their devotion to isomer discrimination, structure identification, conformational transformation, and phase transition investigation of protomers/deprotomers. © 2023. Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


    Dali Fu, Sara Girmay Habtegabir, Haodong Wang, Shijie Feng, Yehua Han. Understanding of protomers/deprotomers by combining mass spectrometry and computation. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. 2023 Jul;415(18):3847-3862

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    PMID: 36737499

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