The 105 resolving power and MS/MS capabilities of Fourier-transform mass spectrometry provide electrospray ionization mass spectra containing > 100 molecular and fragment ion mass values of high accuracy. Applying these spectra to the detection and localization of errors and modifications in the DNA-derived sequences of proteins is illustrated with the thiCEFSGH thiamin biosynthesis operon from Escherichia coli. Direct fragmentation of the multiply-charged intact protein ions produces large fragment ions covering the entire sequence; further dissociation of these fragment ions provides information on their sequences. For ThiE (23 kDa), the entire sequence was verified in a single spectrum with an accurate (0.3 Da) molecular weight (Mr) value, with confirmation from MS/MS fragment masses. Those for ThiH (46 kDa) showed that the M(r) value (1 Da error) represented the protein without the start Met residue. For ThiF (27 kDa), MS/MS localized a sequence discrepancy to a 34 residue peptide. The first 107 residues of ThiC (74 kDa) were shown to be correct, with C-terminal heterogeneity indicated. For ThiG (predicted M(r) = 34 kDa), ESI/FTMS showed two components of 7,310.74 (ThiS) and 26,896.5 Da (ThiG); MS/MS uncovered three reading frame errors and a stop codon for the first protein. MS/MS ions are consistent with 68 fragments predicted by the corrected ThiS/ThiG DNA sequences.
- Escherichia coli
- Fourier-transform mass spectrometry
- Thiamin biosynthesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology