Fragmentation pathways of protonated peptides

Authors

  • Béla Paizs,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Molecular Biophysics, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
    2. Protein Analysis Facility, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
    • Protein Analysis Facility, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
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  • Sándor Suhai

    1. Department of Molecular Biophysics, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
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Abstract

The fragmentation pathways of protonated peptides are reviewed in the present paper paying special attention to classification of the known fragmentation channels into a simple hierarchy defined according to the chemistry involved. It is shown that the ‘mobile proton’ model of peptide fragmentation can be used to understand the MS/MS spectra of protonated peptides only in a qualitative manner rationalizing differences observed for low-energy collision induced dissociation of peptide ions having or lacking a mobile proton. To overcome this limitation, a deeper understanding of the dissociation chemistry of protonated peptides is needed. To this end use of the ‘pathways in competition’ (PIC) model that involves a detailed energetic and kinetic characterization of the major peptide fragmentation pathways (PFPs) is proposed. The known PFPs are described in detail including all the pre-dissociation, dissociation, and post-dissociation events. It is our hope that studies to further extend PIC will lead to semi-quantative understanding of the MS/MS spectra of protonated peptides which could be used to develop refined bioinformatics algorithms for MS/MS based proteomics. Experimental and computational data on the fragmentation of protonated peptides are reevaluated from the point of view of the PIC model considering the mechanism, energetics, and kinetics of the major PFPs. Evidence proving semi-quantitative predictability of some of the ion intensity relationships (IIRs) of the MS/MS spectra of protonated peptides is presented. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 24:508–548, 2005

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