McLafferty-type rearrangement in the collision-induced dissociation of Li+, Na+ and Ag+ cationized esters of N-acetylated peptides

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Anbalagan, Victor
Patel, J. N.
Niyakorn, G.
Van Stipdonk, Michael J.

Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM. 2003; 17(4): 291-300.


In this study we investigated the multi-stage collision-induced dissociation (CID) of N-terminally acetylated di-, tri- and tetrapeptides in the form of C-terminal ethyl, n-propyl, isopropyl, n-butyl and tert-butyl esters and cationized by the attachment of Li(+), Na(+) and Ag(+). While methyl ester versions of the metal cationized peptides primarily eliminate H(2)O following collisional activation and dissociation, the ethyl, propyl and butyl ester versions of the peptides exhibit a dissociation pathway consistent with gamma-hydrogen transfer to the C-terminal carbonyl group, with associated elimination of an alkene, in a McLafferty-type rearrangement. The rearrangement leaves a metal cationized, free-acid form of the peptide, as confirmed by comparing the multi-stage CID of rearrangement products generated from peptide esters with the CID of corresponding metal cationized free-acid peptides. The transfer of a gamma-hydrogen in the rearrangement reaction was confirmed by investigating the CID of ethyl esters for which the terminal methyl group was labeled with deuterium. We found that the rearrangement product was significantly more abundant, relative to other product ions, when derived from isopropyl and tert-butyl esters than from ethyl, n-propyl or n-butyl ester analogues.

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