Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

The in situ gas-phase formation of a C-glycoside ion obtained during electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. A unique intramolecular mechanism involving an ion-molecule reaction.

PMID 26331922


This study examines the electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), in-source collision-induced dissociation (CID) fragmentation and low-energy collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectrometry (CID-MS/MS) of a synthetic pair of β- and α-anomers of the amphiphilic cholesteryl polyethoxy neoglycolipids containing the 2-azido-2-deoxy-D-galactosyl-D-GalN3 moiety. We describe the novel and unique in situ gas-phase formation of a C-glycoside ion formed during all these gas-phase processes and propose a reasonable mechanism for its formation. The synthetic amphiphilic glycolipids were composed of the 2-deoxy-2-azido-D-galactosyl moiety (GalN3, the hydrophilic part) covalently attached to a polyethoxy spacer which is covalently linked to the cholesteryl moiety (hydrophobic part). The 2-azido-2-deoxy-α- and β-D-galactosyl-containing glycolipids were studied by in-time and in-space ESI-MS and CID-MS/MS in positive ion mode, with quadrupole ion trap (QIT), quadrupole-quadrupole-time-of-flight (QqTOF), and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) instruments. Conventional single-stage ESI-MS analysis showed the formation of the protonated molecule. During the single-stage ESI-MS analysis and the CID-MS/MS of the [M+H](+) and [M+NH4](+) adducts obtained from both glycolipid anomers, the presence of a series of specific product ions with different intensities was observed, consistent with the [C-glycoside+H-N2](+), [cholestadiene+H](+), 2-deoxy-2-D-azido-galactosyl [GalN3](+), [GalNH](+) and [sugar-Spacer+H](+) ions. The gas-phase formation of the [C-glycoside+H-N2](+) ion isolated from the glycolipid anomers was observed during both the ESI-MS of the glycolipids and the CID-MS/MS analyses of the [M+H](+) ions and it was found to occur by an intramolecular rearrangement involving an ion-molecule complex. CID-QqTOF-MS/MS and CID-FTICR-MS(2) analysis allowed the differentiation of the two glycolipid anomers and showed noticeable variation in the intensities of the product ions.