Condensable Vapor Sorption by Low Charge State Protein Ions

Jihyeon Lee, Brian H. Clowers, Christopher J. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Measurement of the gas-phase ion mobility of proteins provides a means to quantitatively assess the relative sizes of charged proteins. However, protein ion mobility measurements are typically singular values. Here, we apply tandem mobility analysis to low charge state protein ions (+1 and +2 ions) introduced into the gas phase by nanodroplet nebulization. We first determine protein ion mobilities in dry air and subsequently examine shifts in mobilities brought about by the clustering of vapor molecules. Tandem mobility analysis yields mobility-vapor concentration curves for each protein ion, expanding the information obtained from mobility analysis. This experimental procedure and analysis is extended to bovine serum albumin, transferrin, immunoglobulin G, and apoferritin with water, 1-butanol, and nonane. All protein ions appear to adsorb vapor molecules, with mobility “diameter” shifts of up to 6−7% at conditions just below vapor saturation. We parametrize results using κ-Köhler theory, where the term κ quantifies the extent of uptake beyond Köhler model expectations. For 1-butanol and nonane, κ decreases with increasing protein ion size, while it increases with increasing protein ion size for water. For the systems probed, the extent of mobility shift for the organic vapors is unaffected by the nebulized solution pH, while shifts with water are sensitive to pH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7050-7059
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by US National Science Foundation Awards 2002852 and 2003042.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.


  • 1-Butanol
  • Gases/chemistry
  • Ions/chemistry
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Water

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Journal Article


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