Complexes of silver(I) with peptides and proteins as produced in electrospray mass spectrometry

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Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry





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methionine, nitrogen, oxygen, peptide, sulfur, article, gas analysis, protein binding, solvation, tandem mass spectrometry

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Silver(I) forms aqueous phase complexes with both sulfur and nonsulfur containing peptides and proteins. These complexes were introduced into the gas phase via electrospray, and their structures probed by means of tandem mass spectrometry. Experiments with di-, tri-, and oligopeptides show that the abundance of silver(I)-containing ions increases relative to that of proton-containing ions as peptide length increases. This increase is much more dramatic for methionine-containing peptides. Collision-induced dissociation of silver-peptide complexes yields a multitude of product ions that are silver containing. However, even for methionine-containing peptides, very few of these product ions contain the methionine residue. The solution- phase structure and the gas-phase structure of the silver/peptide complex are not identical. The methionine sulfur acts as the silver anchoring point in solution. Desolvation in the gas phase leads to a rearrangement of the silver/peptide complex such that the silver ion becomes chelated to the nitrogen and oxygen atom on the peptide backbone in addition to the methionine sulfur. This rearrangement decreases the importance of the silver/sulfur bond to the extent that it is frequently broken upon collision activation and leads to the formation of silver/peptide product ions that are nonsulfur bearing.