Studies on phosphatidylglycerol with triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization: Fragmentation processes and structural characterization

Fong Fu Hsu, John Turk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

Negative-ion low-energy collisionally activated dissociation (CAD) tandem mass spectrometry of electrospray-produced ions permits structural characterization of phosphatidylglycerol (PG). The major ions that identify the structures arise from neutral loss of free fatty acid substituents ([M - H - RxCO2H]-) and neutral loss of the fatty acids as ketenes ([M - H - RxCH = C = O]-), followed by consecutive loss of the glycerol head group. The abundances of the ions arising from neutral loss of the sn-2 substutient as a free fatty acid ([M - H - R2CO2H]-) or as a ketene ([M - H - R2CH = C = O]-) are greater than those of the product ions from the analogous losses at sn-1. Nucleophilic attack of the anionic phosphate site on the C-1 or the C-2 of the glycerol to which the carboxylates attached expels the sn-1 (R1CO2-) or the sn-2 (R2CO2-) carboxylate anion, resulting in a greater abundance of R2COO- than R1COO-. These features permit assignments of fatty acid substituents and their position in the glycerol backbone. The results are also consistent with our earlier findings that pathways leading to those losses at sn-2 are sterically more favorable than those at sn-1. Fragment ions at m/z 227, 209 and 171 reflect the glycerol polar head group and identify the various PG molecules. Both charge-remote fragmentation (CRF) and charge-drive fragmentation (CDF) processes are the major pathways for the formation of [M - H - RxCOOH]- ions. The CRF process involves participation of the hydrogen atoms on the glycerol backbone, whereas the CDF process involves participation of the exchangeable hydrogen atoms of the glycerol head group. The proposed fragmentation pathways are supported by CAD tandem mass spectrometry of the analogous precursor ions arising from the H-D exchange experiment, and further confirmed by source CAD in combination with tandem mass spectrometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1043
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

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