Charge ratio analysis method: approach for the deconvolution of electospray mass spectra
A new method to interpret electrospray mass spectral data based on calculating the ratio of mass-to-charge (m/z) values of multiply charged ions is described. The mass-to-charge ratios of any two multiply charged ions corresponding to a single compound are unique numbers that enable the charge states for each ion to be unequivocally identified. The multiply charged ions in electrospray mass spectra originate from the addition or abstraction of protons, cations, or anions to and from a compound under analysis. In contrast to existing deconvolution processes, the charge ratio analysis method (CRAM), identifies the charge states of multiply charged ions without any prior knowledge of the nature of the charge-carrying species. In the case of high-resolution electrospray mass spectral data, in which multiply charged ions are resolved to their isotopic components, the CRAM is capable of correlating the isotope peaks of different multiply charged ions that share the same isotopic composition. This relative ratio method is illustrated here for electrospray mass spectral data of lysozyme and oxidized ubiquitin recorded at low- to high-mass resolution on quadrupole ion trap and Fourier transform ion cyclotron mass spectrometers, and theoretical data for the protein calmodulin based upon a reported spectrum recorded on the latter.
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