UNIT 10.2 Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Oligonucleotides

  1. Colette M. Castleberry1,
  2. Lenore P. Rodicio2,
  3. Patrick A. Limbach1

Published Online: 1 DEC 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0471142700.nc1002s35

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

How to Cite

Castleberry, C. M., Rodicio, L. P. and Limbach, P. A. 2008. Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Oligonucleotides. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry. 35:10.2:10.2.1–10.2.19.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Rieveschl Laboratories for Mass Spectrometry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

  2. 2

    Department of Natural and Social Sciences, Miami Dade College, InterAmerican Campus, Miami, Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 DEC 2008
  2. Published Print: DEC 2008


Because of the high molecular weights and thermal lability of biomolecules such as nucleic acids and protein, they can be difficult to analyze by mass spectrometry. Such analyses require a “soft” ionization method that is capable of generating intact molecular ions. In addition, most mass analyzers have a limited upper mass range that is not sufficient for studying these large molecules. ESI-MS can be used to analyze molecules with a molecular weight that is larger than the mass-to-charge ratio limit of the analyzer. This unit describes how ESI allows for analysis of high-molecular-weight compounds through the generation of multiply charged ions in the gas phase. It discusses analyzer configurations and solvent selection, and gives protocols for sample preparation. For applications of ESI-MS, the unit discusses molecular weight determination, sequencing, and analysis of oligonucleotide mixtures by LC-MS. Curr. Protoc. Nucleic Acid Chem. 35:10.2.1-10.2.19. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • Electrospray;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • ESI-MS;
  • nucleic acids;
  • LC-MS