CBM researchers have created the first method for detecting non-covalent complexes of biomolecules by MALDI mass spectrometry based on liquid deposits

09 August 2018 par Laetitia Legoupil
So far, the standard approach for analyzing molecule complexes in native mass spectrometry, ie by keeping the complexes intact in the instrument, used electrospray to produce the ions to be detected. MALDI ionization, however, has many advantages, such as reduced sample consumption and better tolerance to certain additives or contaminants, and its use opens new perspectives in native mass spectrometry.

The success of this method relies on the use of nonvolatile liquid matrices, which avoids the passage through the solid phase conventionally used in MALDI and the denaturation of the non-covalent assemblies. By their increased viscosity, these matrices also have the advantage of better mimicking the cluttered environments of living organisms.
The reliability of this method has been shown for non-covalent protein protein and ligand protein systems. This new approach could be used for screening of therapeutic protein ligands and facilitating the analysis of membrane protein complexes by mass spectrometry.