2012 Volume 1 Issue 1 Pages A0001
The susceptibility of the N-Cα bond of the peptide backbone to specific cleavage by in-source decay (ISD) in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI MS) was studied from the standpoint of the secondary structure of three proteins. A naphthalene derivative, 5-amino-1-naphtol (5,1-ANL), was used as the matrix. The resulting c’-ions, which originate from the cleavage at N-Cα bonds in flexible secondary structures such as turn and bend, and are free from intra-molecular hydrogen-bonded α-helix structure, gave relatively intense peaks. Furthermore, ISD spectra of the proteins showed that the N-Cα bonds of specific amino acid residues, namely Gly-Xxx, Xxx-Asp, and Xxx-Asn, were more susceptible to MALDI-ISD than other amino acid residues. This is in agreement with the observation that Gly, Asp and Asn residues usually located in turns, rather than α-helix. The results obtained indicate that protein molecules embedded into the matrix crystal in the MALDI experiments maintain their secondary structures as determined by X-ray crystallography, and that MALDI-ISD has the capability for providing information concerning the secondary structure of protein.