Charge mediated compaction and rearrangement of gas phase proteins: A Case Study Considering Two Proteins at Opposite Ends of the Structure Disorder Continuum

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Charge reduction in the gas phase provides a direct means of manipulating protein charge state, and when coupled to ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS), it is possible to monitor the effect of charge on protein conformation in the absence of solution. Use of the electron transfer reagent 1,3-dicyanobenzene, coupled with IM-MS, allows us to monitor the effect of charge reduction on the conformation of two proteins deliberately chosen from opposite sides of the order to disorder continuum: bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) and beta casein. The ordered BPTI presents compact conformers for each of three charge states accompanied by narrow collision cross-section distributions (TWCCSDN2→He). Upon reduction of BPTI, irrespective of precursor charge state, the TWCCSN2→He decreases to a similar distribution as found for the nESI generated ion of identical charge. The behavior of beta casein upon charge reduction is more complex. It presents over a wide charge state range (9–28), and intermediate charge states (13–18) have broad TWCCSDN2→He with multiple conformations, where both compaction and rearrangement are seen. Further, we see that the TWCCSDN2→He of the latter charge states are even affected by the presence of radical anions. Overall, we conclude that the flexible nature of some proteins result in broad conformational distributions comprised of many families, even for single charge states, and the barrier between different states can be easily overcome by an alteration of the net charge.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1461
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Society for Mass Spectrometry. Journal
Issue number7
Early online date5 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017