Electron capture dissociation as structural probe for noncovalent gas-phase protein assemblies
Anal. Chem. , Volume 78 p. 7191- 7196
Electron capture dissociation (ECD) of proteins in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry usually leads to charge reduction and backbone-bond cleavage, thereby mostly retaining labile, intramolecular noncovalent interactions. In this report, we evaluate ECD of the 84-kDa noncovalent heptameric gp31 complex and compare this with sustained off-resonance irradiation collisionally activated dissociation (SORI-CAD) of the same protein. Unexpectedly, the 21+ charge state of the gp31 oligomer exhibits a main ECD pathway resulting in a hexamer and monomer, disrupting labile, intermolecular noncovalent bonds and leaving the backbone intact. Unexpectedly, the charge separation over the two products is highly proportional to molecular weight. This indicates that a major charge redistribution over the subunits of the complex does not take place during ECD, in contrast to the behavior observed when using SORI-CAD. We speculate that the ejected monomer retains more of its original structure in ECD, when compared to SORI-CAD. ECD of lower charge states of gp31 does not lead to dissociation of noncovalent bonds. We hypothesize that the initial gas-phase structure of the 21+ charge state is significantly different from the lower charge states. These structural differences result in the different reaction pathways when using ECD.