Proton mobility in protonated peptides: A joint molecular orbital and RRKM study

István Pál Csonka, Béla Paizs, György Lendvay, Sándor Suhai

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94 Citations (Scopus)


The mobile proton model was critically evaluated by using purely theoretical models which include quantum mechanical calculations to determine stationary points on the potential energy surface (PES) of a model compound, and Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus (RRKM) calculations to determine the rate constants of various processes (conformational changes, proton transfer reactions) which occur during mass analysis of protonated peptides. Extensive mapping of the PES of protonated N-formylglycinamide resulted in various minima which were stabilized by one or more of the following types of interaction: internal hydrogen bond, charge transfer interaction, charge delocalization, and ring formation. The relative energies of most of the investigated minima are less then 20 kcal mol-1 compared with the most stable species. More importantly, the relative energies of the transition structures connecting these minima are fairly low, allowing facile transitions among the energetically low-lying species. It is demonstrated that a path can be found leading from the energetically most stable species, protonated on an amide oxygen, to the structure from which the energetically most favorable fragmentation occurs. It is also shown that the added proton can sample all protonation sites prior to fragmentation. The RRKM calculations applied the results of ab initio computations (structures, energetics, vibrational frequencies) to the reactions (internal rotations, proton transfers) occurring in protonated N-formylglycinamide, and clearly lend additional evidence to the mobile proton model. Based on the results of the PES search on protonated N-formylglycinamide, we also comment on the mechanism proposed by Arnot et al. (Arnot D, Kottmeier D, Yates N, Shabanowitz J, Hunt D F. 42(nd) ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry, 1994; 470) and Reid et al. (Reid G E, Simpson R J, O'Hair R A J. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 1998; 9:945) for the formation of b2/+ ions. According to the high level ab initio results, the mechanism relying on amide oxygen protonated species seems to be less feasible than the one which involves N-protonated species. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-431
Number of pages15
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry

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