A relatively simple model for calculation of the energetics of gas-phase proton transfer reactions and the maximum charge state of multiply protonated ions formed by electrospray ionization is presented. This model is based on estimates of the intrinsic proton transfer reactivity of sites of protonation and point charge Coulomb interactions. From this model, apparent gas-phase basicities (GBapp) of multiply protonated ions are calculated. Comparison of this value to the gas-phase basicity of the solvent from which an ion is formed enables a maximum charge state to be calculated. For 13 commonly electrosprayed proteins, our calculated maximum charge states are within an average of 6% of the experimental values reported in the literature. This indicates that the maximum charge state for proteins is determined by their gas-phase reactivity. Similar results are observed for peptides with many basic residues. For peptides with few basic residues, we find that the maximum charge state is better correlated to the charge state in solution. For low charge state ions, we find that the most basic sites Arg, Lys, and His are preferentially protonated. A significant fraction of the less basic residues Pro, Trp, and Gln are protonated in high charge state ions. The calculated GBapp of individual protonation sites varies dramatically in the high charge state ions. From these values, we calculate a reduced cross section for proton transfer reactivity that is significantly lower than the Langevin collision frequency when the GBapp of the ion is approximately equal to the GB of the neutral base. © 1995, American Society for Mass Spectrometry. All rights reserved.
Schnier, P. D., Gross, D. S., & Williams, E. R. (1995). On the maximum charge state and proton transfer reactivity of peptide and protein ions formed by electrospray ionization. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 6(11), 1086–1097. https://doi.org/10.1016/1044-0305(95)00532-3