November 01, 2007
Mass spectrometry (MS) has advanced to analyze ever-larger biomolecules with the invention of soft ionization techniques like electrospray ionization (ESI). Although ESI has provided a method of generating ions of high mass, mass spectrometers generally suffer both lower sensitivity and lower resolution as the mass-to-charge ratio of an ion increases. To extend the mass range of ionized macromolecules beyond the limits of MS, macroion mobility spectrometry utilizes ion mobility sizing to characterize charge-reduced ESI-generated macroions from >5 kDa to beyond megadalton masses. One prominent application of macroion mobility spectrometry, highlighted here, is the high sensitivity analysis of intact proteins, antibodies, and conjugates in which molecular masses range from antibody light-chain fragments to high mass immunoglobulin multimers.