Performance evaluation of in-source ion activation hardware for collision-induced unfolding of proteins and protein complexes on a drift tube ion mobility-mass spectrometer. Academic Article uri icon


  • Native ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS) has emerged as an information-rich technique for gas phase protein structure characterization; however, IM resolution is currently insufficient for the detection of subtle structural differences in large biomolecules. This challenge has spurred the development of collision-induced unfolding (CIU) which utilizes incremental gas phase activation to unfold a protein in order to expand the number of measurable descriptors available for native protein ions. Although CIU is now routinely used in native mass spectrometry studies, the interlaboratory reproducibility of CIU has not been established. Here we evaluate the reproducibility of the CIU data produced across three laboratories (University of Michigan, Texas A&M University, and Vanderbilt University). CIU data were collected for a variety of protein ions ranging from 8.6-66 kDa. Within the same laboratory, the CIU fingerprints were found to be repeatable with root mean square deviation (RMSD) values of less than 5%. Collision cross section (CCS) values of the CIU intermediates were consistent across the laboratories, with most features exhibiting an interlaboratory reproducibility of better than 1%. In contrast, the activation potentials required to induce protein CIU transitions varied between the three laboratories. To address these differences, three source assemblies were constructed with an updated ion activation hardware design utilizing higher mechanical tolerance specifications. The production-grade assemblies were found to produce highly consistent CIU data for intact antibodies, exhibiting high precision ion CCS and CIU transition values, thus opening the door to establishing databases of CIU fingerprints to support future biomolecular classification efforts.

published proceedings

  • Analyst

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Gadkari, V. V., Juliano, B. R., Mallis, C. S., May, J. C., Kurulugama, R. T., Fjeldsted, J. C., ... Ruotolo, B. T.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Gadkari, Varun V||Juliano, Brock R||Mallis, Christopher S||May, Jody C||Kurulugama, Ruwan T||Fjeldsted, John C||McLean, John A||Russell, David H||Ruotolo, Brandon T

publication date

  • January 2023