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Online mass spectrometry of CE (SDS)-separated proteins by two-dimensional capillary electrophoresis

  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) is the fundamental technique for protein separation by size. Applying this technology in capillary format, gaining high separation efficiency in a more automated way, is a key technology for size separation of proteins in the biopharmaceutical industry. However, unequivocal identification by online mass spectrometry (MS) is impossible so far, due to strong interference in the electrospray process by SDS and other components of the SDS-MW separation gel buffer. Here, a heart-cut two-dimensional electrophoretic separation system applying an electrically isolated valve with an internal loop of 20 nL is presented. The peak of interest in the CE (SDS) separation is transferred to the CZE-MS, where electrospray-interfering substances of the SDS-MW gel are separated prior to online electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. An online SDS removal strategy for decomplexing the protein-SDS complex is implemented in the second dimension, consisting of the co-injection of organic solvent and cationic surfactant. This online CE (SDS)-CZE-MS system allows MS characterization of proteoforms separated in generic CE (SDS), gaining additional separation in the CZE and detailed MS information. In general, the system can be applied to all kinds of proteins separated by CE (SDS). Here, we present results of the CE (SDS)-CZE-MS system on the analysis of several biopharmaceutically relevant antibody impurities and fragments. Additionally, the versatile application spectrum of the system is demonstrated by the analysis of extracted proteins from soybean flour. The online hyphenation of CE (SDS) resolving power and MS identification capabilities will be a powerful tool for protein and mAb characterization. Graphical abstract Two-dimensional capillary electrophoresis system hyphenated with mass spectrometry for the characterization of CE (SDS)-separated proteins. As first dimension, a generic and high MS-interfering CE (SDS) separation is performed for size separation. After heart-cut transfer of the unknown CE (SDS) protein peak, via a four-port nanoliter valve to a volatile electrolyte system as second dimension, interference-free mass spectrometric data of separated mAb fragments and soybean proteins are obtained.

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Author:Jennifer Römer, Cristina Montealegre, Johannes Schlecht, Steffen Kiessig, Bernd Moritz, Christian Neusüß
Institutional Author:Christian Neusüß
Institutional Author:Johannes Schlecht
Institutional Author:Jennifer Römer
Source Title (English):Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2021/05/11
First Page:9197
Last Page:9206
Relevance:peer reviewed