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Keywords:

  • electron capture dissociation;
  • ECD;
  • FTICR;
  • FT-ICR;
  • FT-MS;
  • proteomics;
  • post-translational modifications

Abstract

The introduction of electron capture dissociation (ECD) to electrospray (ESI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) constitutes a significant advance in the structural analysis of biomolecules. The fundamental features and benefits of ECD are discussed in this review. ECD is currently unique to FT-ICR MS and the fundamentals of that technique are outlined. The advantages and complementarity of ECD in relation to other tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) techniques, such as infrared multiphoton dissociation (IRMPD) and sustained off-resonance collision-induced dissociation (SORI-CID), are discussed. The instrumental considerations associated with implementation of ECD, including activated ion techniques and coupling to on-line separation techniques, are covered, as are the allied processes electronic excitation dissociation (EED), electron detachment dissociation (EDD), and hot electron capture (HECD). A major theme of this review is the role of ECD in proteomics, particularly for characterization of post-translational modifications (phosphorylation, glycosylation, carboxyglutamic acid, sulfation, acylation, and methionine oxidation) and the top-down approach to protein identification. The application of ECD to the analysis of polymers, peptide nucleic acids, and oligonucleotides is also discussed. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 24:201–222, 2005