Native ESI Mass Spectrometry Can Help to Avoid Wrong Interpretations from Isothermal Titration Calorimetry in Difficult Situations
Gas-phase thermal dissociation experiments, implemented with blackbody infrared radiative dissociation (BIRD) and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry, have been performed on a series of protonated and deprotonated 1:1 and protonated 1:2 protein-carbohydrate complexes formed by nonspecific interactions during the nanoflow electrospray (nanoES) ionization process. Nonspecific interactions between the proteins bovine carbonic anhydrase II (CA), bovine ubiquitin (Ubq), and bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and several carbohydrates, ranging in size from mono- to tetrasaccharides, have been investigated. Over the range of temperatures studied (60-190 degrees C), BIRD of the protonated and deprotonated complexes proceeds exclusively by the loss of the carbohydrate in its neutral form. The rates of dissociation of the 1:1 complexes containing a mono- or disaccharide decrease with reaction time, suggesting the presence of two or more kinetically distinct structures produced during nanoES or by gas-phase processes. In contrast, the 1:1 complexes of the tri- and tetrasaccharides exhibit simple first-order dissociation kinetics, a result that, on its own, is suggestive of a single preferred carbohydrate binding site or multiple equivalent sites in the gas phase. A comparative analysis of the dissociation kinetics measured for protonated 1:1 and 1:2 complexes of Ubq with alphaTal[alphaAbe]alphaMan further supports the presence of a single preferred binding site. However, a similar analysis performed on the complexes of CA and alphaTal[alphaAbe]alphaMan suggests that equivalent but dependent carbohydrate binding sites exist in the gas phase. Analysis of the Arrhenius activation parameters (E(a) and A) determined for the dissociation of 1:1 complexes of CA with structurally related trisaccharides provides evidence that neutral intermolecular hydrogen bonds contribute, at least in part, to the stability of the gaseous complexes. Surprisingly, the E(a) values for the complexes of the same charge state are not sensitive to the structure (primary or higher order) of the protein, suggesting that the carbohydrates are able to form energetically equivalent interactions with the various functional groups presented by the protein. For a given protein-carbohydrate complex, the dissociation E(a) is sensitive to charge state, initially increasing and then decreasing with increasing charge. It is proposed that both ionic and neutral hydrogen bonds stabilize the nonspecific protein-carbohydrate complexes in the gas phase and that the relative contribution of the neutral and ionic interactions is strongly influenced by the charge state of the complex, with neutral interactions dominating at low charge states and ionic interactions dominating at high charge states.