Nanospray ion mobility mass spectrometry of selected high mass species.
ABSTRACT The introduction of electrospray ionization (ESI) and in particular nano-electrospray (nESI) has enabled the routine mass spectrometric (MS) analysis of large protein complexes in native aqueous buffers. Time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometers, in particular the hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-ToF) instruments, are well suited to the analysis of large protein complexes. When ionized under native-MS conditions, protein complexes routinely exhibit multiple charge states in excess of m/z 6,000, well above the standard mass range of many quadrupole or ion cyclotron-based instruments. The research area of native MS has expanded considerably in the last decade and has shown particular relevance in the area of protein structure determination. Researchers are now able to routinely measure intact MS spectra of protein complexes above 1 MDa in mass. The advent of ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS), in combination with molecular dynamics (MD) studies, is now allowing researchers to infer the shape of the protein complex being analyzed. Herein, we describe how to acquire IM-MS data that ranges from inorganic salt clusters of caesium iodide (CsI) to large biomolecular complexes such as the chaperone protein GroEL.