Electron Capture in Charge-Tagged Peptides. Evidence for the Role of Excited Electronic States

Abstract : Electron capture dissociation (ECD) was studied with doubly charged dipeptide ions that were tagged with fixed-charge tris-(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium-methylenecarboxamido (TMPP-ac) groups. Dipeptides GK, KG, AK, KA, and GR were each selectively tagged with one TMPP-ac group at the N-terminal amino group while the other charge was introduced by protonation at the lysine or arginine side-chain groups to give (TMPP-ac-peptide + H)2+ ions by electrospray ionization. Doubly tagged peptide derivatives were also prepared from GK, KG, AK, and KA in which the fixed-charge TMPP-ac groups were attached to the N-terminal and lysine side-chain amino groups to give (TMPP-ac-peptide-ac-TMPP)2+ dications by electrospray. ECD of (TMPP-ac-peptide + H)2+ resulted in 72% to 84% conversion to singly charged dissociation products while no intact charge-reduced (TMPP-ac-dipeptide + H)+• ions were detected. The dissociations involved loss of H, formation of (TMPP + H)+, and N–C(alpha) bond cleavages giving TMPP-CH2CONH2+ (c0) and c1 fragments. In contrast, ECD of (TMPP-ac-peptide-ac-TMPP)2+ resulted in 31% to 40% conversion to dissociation products due to loss of neutral TMPP molecules and 2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl radicals. No peptide backbone cleavages were observed for the doubly tagged peptide ions. Ab initio and density functional theory calculations for (Ph3P-ac-GK + H)2+ and (H3P-ac-GK + H)2+ analogs indicated that the doubly charged ions contained the lysine side-chain NH3+ group internally solvated by the COOH group. The distance between the charge-carrying phosphonium and ammonium atoms was calculated to be 13.1-13.2 Å in the most stable dication conformers. The intrinsic recombination energies of the TMPP+-ac and (GK + H)+ moieties, 2.7 and 3.15 eV, respectively, indicated that upon electron capture the ground electronic states of the (TMPP-ac-peptide + H)+• ions retained the charge in the TMPP group. Ground electronic state (TMPP-ac-GK + H)+• ions were calculated to spontaneously isomerize by lysine H-atom transfer to the COOH group to form dihydroxycarbinyl radical intermediates with the retention of the charged TMPP group. These can trigger cleavages of the adjacent N–C(alpha) bonds to give rise to the c1 fragment ions. However, the calculated transition-state energies for GK and GGK models suggested that the ground-state potential energy surface was not favorable for the formation of the abundant c0 fragment ions. This pointed to the involvement of excited electronic states according to the Utah-Washington mechanism of ECD.
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Julia Chamot-Rooke, Christian Malosse, Gilles Frison, Frantisek Turecek. Electron Capture in Charge-Tagged Peptides. Evidence for the Role of Excited Electronic States. Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2007, 18, pp.2146-2161. ⟨10.1016/j.jasms.2007.09.009⟩. ⟨hal-00466468⟩

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