How can mass spectrometry help biochemists?

1 Answer
Jan 31, 2015

In a typical MS experiment, molecules are ionized, separated on the basis of mass-to-charge ratio (m/z), and detected.

The resulting spectra provide insights into molecular structure based on the pattern of ions generated.

The technique is usually combined with other methods such as liquid chromatography and gel electrophoresis to solve a wide variety of biochemical problems.

Modern mass spectrometers give exceptionally precise mass measurements.

Here are some of the ways in which mass spectrometry helps biochemists.

Precise measurements of molecular mass

  • Sample confirmation
  • Determination of purity

Reaction monitoring

  • Enzyme reactions
  • Chemical modification
  • Protein digestion

Amino acid sequencing, peptide and protein structure

  • Sequence confirmation
  • Protein folding monitored by H/D exchange
  • Protein-ligand complex formation under physiological condition
  • Protein identification by database identification of hydrolysis fragments

Pharmaceutical analysis

  • Bioavailability studies
  • Drug metabolism studies
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Characterization of potential drugs