Microprobe-Capture In-Emitter Elution: An Affinity Capture Technique to Directly Couple a Label-Free Optical Sensing Technology with Mass Spectrometry for Top-Down Protein Analysis

19 January 2023, Version 4
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Affinity capture of an analyte by a capture agent is one of the most effective sample preparation approaches for protein analytes. We describe a new affinity capture technique for top-down protein analysis, called microprobe-capture in-emitter elution (MPIE), which can directly couple a label-free optical sensing technology (next-generation biolayer interferometry, BLI) with MS. To implement MPIE, an analyte is first captured on the surface of a microprobe, and subsequently eluted from the microprobe inside an electrospray emitter. The capture process is monitored in real-time via BLI. When electrospray is established from the emitter to a mass spectrometer, the analyte is immediately ionized via electrospray ionization (ESI) for HR-MS analysis. By this means, BLI and HR-MS are directly coupled in the form of MPIE-ESI-MS. The performance of MPIE-ESI-MS was demonstrated by the analysis of β-amyloid 1-40 and transferrin using both standard samples and human specimens. In comparison to the conventional affinity capture techniques such as bead-based immunoprecipitation, MPIE innovates the affinity capture methodology by introducing real-time process monitoring and providing binding characteristics of analytes, offering more information-rich experimental results. Thus, MPIE is a valuable addition to the TD-MS sample preparation toolbox, and more applications of MPIE-ESI-MS in top-down protein analysis are expected.


Label-Free Optical Sensing Technology
Mass Spectrometry
Top-Down Protein Analysis


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