Native Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry (IM‐MS) reveals that small organic acid fragments impart gas‐phase stability to carbonic anhydrase II

Clinton G.l. Veale, Maria Mateos Jimenez, C. Logan Mackay, David J. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: A key element of studies that utilise ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) under native electrospray conditions for the analysis of protein-ligand binding is the maintenance of a protein’s native conformation during the removal of bulk solvent. Ruotolo and co-workers have demonstrated that the binding and subsequent dissociation of the anionic component of inorganic salts stabilises native protein conformations in the gas phase. In this study, we investigated the effect that organic acid fragments identified from a fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) campaign might have on the gas-phase stability of carbonic anhydrase II (CA II).
Methods: Here we utilise native IM-MS to monitor changes in the conformation of CA II in the absence and presence of four acidic fragments. By performing a series of collisional induced unfolding (CIU) experiments we determine the effect of fragment binding on gas phase stability of CA II.
Results: Binding and dissociation of acidic fragments results in increased gas phase stability of CA II. Collision induced unfolding experiments revealed that the native-like compact gas phase conformation of the protein is stable with higher degree of pre-activation when bound to a series of acidic fragments. Importantly, even though acetate was present in high concentrations, the stabilising effect was not observed without the addition of the acidic fragments.
Conclusions: Binding and subsequent dissociation of acidic fragments from CA II significantly delayed CIU in a manner which is likely analogous to inorganic anions. Furthermore, we saw a slightly altered stabilising effect between the different fragments investigated in this study. This suggests that the prevention of CIU by organic acids, may be tuneable to specific properties of a bound ligand. These observations may open avenues to exploit IM-MS as a screening platform in FBDD.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRapid communications in mass spectrometry
Early online date3 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Sep 2019


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