Removal of sodium and potassium adducts using a matrix additive during matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometric analysis of peptides



Monovalent cations often associate with peptides and proteins under mass spectrometry (MS) conditions, resulting in a discernable, but often misleading, adduct cluster pattern. These adduct cluster peaks reduce the signal intensity of specific peptide species by splitting the ion population into multiple mass peaks, suppressing the ionization of neighboring low-abundance peaks, and interfering with identification of post-translational modifications. Further, monovalent contaminants tend to form a distribution of matrix cluster peaks in matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) spectra causing interference and suppression in the mass range below 1400 Da. The most common method for reduction or elimination of adduct clusters is solid-phase extraction via a pipette tip or spin column, which often leads to loss of low-abundance peptide components. In this study we describe the use of a commercially available surfactant blend that markedly reduces the adduction of monovalent cations during peptide analysis by MALDI-TOFMS. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.