We report a new method for identifying disulfide linkages in peptides using mass spectrometry. This is accomplished by collisional activation of singly charged cationic alkali and alkaline earth metal complexes, which results in the highly selective elimination of hydrogen disulfide (H2C 2). Complexes of peptides possessing disulfide bonds with sodium and alkaline earth metal are generated using electrospray ionization (ESI). Isolation followed by collision induced dissociation (CID) of singly charged peptide complexes results in selective elimination of H2S2 to leave newly formed dehydroalanine residues in the peptide. Further activation of the product yields sequence information in the region previously short circuited by the disulfide bond. For example, singly charged magnesium and calcium ion bound complexes of [Lys8]-vasopressin exhibit selective elimination of H2S2 via low-energy CID. Further isolation of the product followed by CID yields major b- and z-type fragments revealing the peptide sequence in the region between the newly formed dehydroalanine residues. Numerous model peptides provide mechanistic details for the selective elimination of H2S2. The process is initiated starting with a metal stabilized enolate anion at Cys, followed by cleavage of the S-C bond. An examination of the peptic digest of insulin provides an example of the application of the selective elimination of H2S2 for the identification of peptides with disulfide linkages. The energetics and mechanisms of H2S2 elimination from model compounds are investigated using density functional theory (DFT) calculations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry