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Simple Approach for Improved LC–MS Analysis of Protein Biopharmaceuticals via Modification of Desolvation Gas

Wang, Shunhai, Xing, Tao, Liu, Anita P., He, Zehong, Yan, Yuetian, Daly, Thomas J., Li, Ning
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.4 pp. 3156-3162
biopharmaceuticals, data quality, isopropyl alcohol, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, peptide mapping, propionic acid, spectrometers, triethylamine, vapors
LC–MS based analysis of protein biopharmaceuticals could benefit from improved data quality, which can subsequently lead to improved drug characterization with higher confidence and less ambiguity. In this study, we created a simple device to modify the desolvation gas on a Q-Exactive mass spectrometer and to demonstrate the utility in improving both peptide mapping analysis and intact mass analysis, the two most routinely and widely applied LC–MS techniques in protein biopharmaceutical characterization. By modifying the desolvation gas with acid vapor from propionic acid (PA) and isopropanol (IPA), the ion suppression effects from trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) in a typical peptide mapping method can be effectively mitigated, thus leading to improved MS sensitivity. By modifying the desolvation gas with base vapor from triethylamine (TEA), the charge reduction effect can be achieved and utilized to improve the spectral quality from intact mass analysis of protein biopharmaceuticals. The approach and device described in this work suggests a low-cost and practical solution to improve the LC–MS characterization of protein biopharmaceuticals, which has the potential to be widely implemented in biopharmaceutical analytical laboratories.