Tandem MS analysis of selenamide-derivatized peptide ions

Yun Zhang, Hao Zhang, Weidong Cui, Hao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Our previous study showed that selenamide reagents such as ebselen and N-(phenylseleno)phthalimide (NPSP) can be used for selective and rapid derivatization of protein/peptide thiols in high conversion yield. This paper reports the systematic investigation of MS/MS dissociation behaviors of selenamide-derivatized peptide ions upon collision induced dissociation (CID) and electron transfer dissociation (ETD). In the positive ion mode, derivatized peptide ions exhibit tag-dependent CID dissociation pathways. For instance, ebselen-derivatized peptide ions preferentially undergo Se-S bond cleavage upon CID to produce a characteristic fragment ion, the protonated ebselen (m/z 276), which allows selective identification of thiol peptides from protein digest as well as selective detection of thiol proteins from protein mixture using precursor ion scan (PIS). In contrast, NPSP-derivatized peptide ions retain their phenylselenenyl tags during CID, which is useful in sequencing peptides and locating cysteine residues. In the negative ion CID mode, both types of tags are preferentially lost via the Se-S cleavage, analogous to the S-S bond cleavage during CID of disulfide-containing peptide anions. In consideration of the convenience in preparing selenamide-derivatized peptides and the similarity of Se-S of the tag to the S-S bond, we also examined ETD of the derivatized peptide ions to probe the mechanism for electron-based ion dissociation. Interestingly, facile cleavage of Se-S bond occurs to the peptide ions carrying either protons or alkali metal ions, while backbone cleavage to form c/z ions is severely inhibited. These results are in agreement with the Utah-Washington mechanism proposed for depicting electron-based ion dissociation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1621
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


  • CID
  • ETD
  • Peptide ions
  • Selective detection
  • Selenamide
  • Thiol derivatization


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