Conformations of biopolymers in the gas phase: a new mass spectrometric method

Andy Gill, Keith R. Jennings, Thomas Wyttenbach, Michael T. Bowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A method is developed for measuring collision cross sections of gas-phase biomolecules using a slightly modified commercial triple quadrupele instrument. The modifications allow accurate stopping potentials to be measured for ions exiting the collision region of the instrument. A simple model allows these curves to be converted to cross sections. In order to account for certain poorly defined experimental parameters (exact ion energy, absolute pressure in the collision cell, etc.) variable parameters are included in the model. These parameters are determined on a case by case basis by normalizing the results to the well known cross section of singly charged bradykinin. Two relatively large systems were studied (cytochrome c and myoglobin) so comparisons could be made to literature values. A number of new peptide systems were then studied in the 9–14 residue range. These included singly and doubly charged ions of luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) substance P, and bombesin in addition to bradykinin. The experimental cross sections were in very good agreement with predictions from extensive molecular dynamics modeling. One interesting result was the experimental observation that the cross section of the doubly charged ions of LHRH, substance P, and bombesin were all smaller than those of the corresponding singly charged ions. Molecular dynamics did not reproduce this result, predicting doubly charged cross sections of the same magnitude or slightly larger than for the singly charged species. The experimental results appear to be correct, however. Possible shortcomings in the modeling procedure for multiply charged ions were suggested that might account for the discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-697
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Biopolymers
  • Gas phase
  • mass spectrometry
  • collision cross sections


Dive into the research topics of 'Conformations of biopolymers in the gas phase: a new mass spectrometric method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this