Optimization and evaluation of a sheathless capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry platform for peptide analysis: comparison to liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry
Faserl, K.; Sarg, B.; Kremser, L.; Lindner, H.
Analytical Chemistry 83(19): 7297-7305
In this study we have evaluated the suitability of a sheathless capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (CE-ESI-MS) interface with a porous tip as the nanospray emitter for use in peptide analysis. A positively charged capillary coating and 0.1% formic acid as background electrolyte were used for separation upstream from mass spectrometry characterization. The influence of the distance between emitter tip and MS inlet, ESI voltage applied, and of the electroosmotic flow (EOF) on electrospray performance and efficiency of the system was investigated in detail. Under optimized conditions, less than 30 amol of a model peptide (angiotensin I) was required for a detection in the base peak electropherogram and positive identification via tandem MS. Three different cationic capillary coatings were investigated for stability, resolution, and EOF and were found to enable reproducible separations by CE-ESI-MS. After optimizing MS settings, the effectiveness of the CE-ESI-MS method developed was compared with a state-of-the-art nano-liquid chromatography (LC)-ESI-MS method by analyzing Arg-C-digested rat testis linker histones with both systems. With comparable amounts of sample applied, the number of identified peptides increased by more than 60% when using CE-ESI-MS. We found that low molecular mass peptides (below 1400 Da) were preferentially identified by CE-ESI-MS, since this group of peptides poorly interacted with the reversed-phase material in the nano-LC system. Finally, total analysis time in LC-ESI-MS for three runs including equilibration was nearly 4 times longer than that of CE-ESI-MS: 246 versus 66 min.