• delayed ion extraction;
  • in-source decay;
  • MALDI;
  • posttranslational modifications;
  • protein sequencing by MALDI


A technique is described for identifying and locating posttranslational modifications (PTMs) in peptides and proteins of known sequence by interpretation of cn ion signals generated by in-source decay during delayed ion extraction in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Sites of phosphorylation in seven synthetic peptides were determined, as was the location of both the heme group and N, N, N-trimethyllysine in yeast cytochrome c. A semi-automated data analysis process facilitates the identification of segments of the sequence on each side of the PTM, permitting its placement at the junction of the segments and definition of the added mass. A graphical display facilitates illustration of both the location and mass of the PTM.