ICR Science Highlights
Road asphalt is made from aggregate (rocks) mixed with a "binder” from the residue remaining after extraction of gasoline and oils from petroleum crude oil. Until recently, this binder was thought to be chemically unreactive. Maglab scientists subjected a thin film of asphalt binder to simulated sunlight in the laboratory and used ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to reveal thousands of new, water-soluble chemicals that could be released into the environment by rainfall.
Analysis of intact proteins using mass spectrometry is a difficult task that can be simplified by prefractionation, a process in which protein mixtures are separated into simpler fractions based on size. Here, researchers developed a new method, PEPPI-MS, which uses low-cost materials and common lab equipment to make an important protein separation strategy widely available.
Combining spatial imaging technology with ultrahigh performance FT-ICR mass spectrometry provides users with the unique ability to create tissue images of identified biomolecules. This technology will be applied to understand human health and disease.
A new method to characterize crude oil corrosion shows that corrosion in acidic crude oils depends on the specific structures of the acid molecules, information that can help improve oil valuation and refining.
Precise determination of hemoglobin sequence and subunit quantitation from human blood for diagnosis of hemoglobin-based diseases.
Scientists will be able to apply the technique to characterize similar molecules, helping develop vaccines and drugs to treat bacterial infection.
Researchers have discovered a new method to create encapsulated carbon nanomaterials that contain fluorine. Known as fullerenes, these nanocages are promising candidates for clean energy applications.
Molecular fossils of chlorophyll (called porphyrins) more than 1.1 billion years old find suggest that photosynthesis began 600 million years earlier than previously established.
Protein oxidative damage is a common occurrence in a number of diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease. Yet, little is known about its contribution to these illnesses. We developed a new technique, utilizing an infrared laser in combination with a mass spectrometer, to selectively identify sites of oxidation in complex protein mixtures. This sensitive and rapid platform may outperform current techniques and thus shed light on the involvement of oxidative damage in each of these diseases.
New technique could lead to precise, personalized cancer diagnosis and monitoring.
The MagLab’s 21-tesla FT-ICR magnet can identify human proteins far more efficiently than commercial instruments, a boon for medical research.
The high-tech tools empower scientists studying petroleum and other molecules to make decisions based on advanced data analysis.
Research sheds important light on the fundamental process of cell division.
Scientists have developed a way to isolate emulsion-causing petroleum compounds. The technique may help lower energy costs for both oil companies and consumers.
We have discovered biomarkers that make it possible to distinguish breast cancer cells from non-cancerous cells, based on identifying chemical modifications of histones, the molecules about which DNA strands are wound to keep them in the cell nucleus. The method uses a high-field magnet to spread out the signals from different parts of the histone, to locate the site(s) of chemical modifications.
We describe a method for de novo protein sequencing with high accuracy and multiple levels of confidence. Samples are digested separately by two proteases, Lys-C and Lys-N. The resulting complementary pairs of ions combine to improve confidence in the identification.
An understanding of the formation mechanism of endohedral metallofullerenes may pave the way towards targeted synthesis of these nanomaterials, which are attractive for use in biomedicine and renewable energy. Their bottom-up synthesis is investigated and charge transfer from the encapsulated metal to carbon cage is determined to play a key role in formation.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2012 resulted in the release of ~5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, a fraction of which washed ashore onto Gulf beaches. We compare the detailed molecular analysis of hydrocarbons in oiled sands from Pensacola Beach to the Macondo wellhead oil (MWO) by Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to identify major environmental transformation products of polar, high molecular weight petrogenic material from Pensacola Beach.
Atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) provides ultrahigh resolving power (m/Δm50% > 1,000,000 at m/z 500) and sub-ppm mass error (50 ppb) required to identify nickel porphyrin isotopes for unambiguous elemental composition assignment. We also report the first simultaneous identification and categorization of both vanadyl and nickel porphyrins in the same sample, without prior sample fractionation.
GroEL is a large (molecular weight ≈ 800,000) protein complex composed of two heptamers arranged like stacked doughnuts. By “spray-painting” the complex with heavy water, and then cutting into pieces with an enzyme and weighing the pieces, we are able to map the solvent accessibility throughout the complex, and observe conformational changes induced by binding of an analog of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), thereby illuminating the mechanism by which ATP activates the complex for its biological function.