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Developing ICP-MS/MS for the detection and determination of synthetic DNA-protein crosslink models via phosphorus and sulfur detection


Various endogenous and exogenous agents drive the un-directed formation of covalent bonds between proteins and DNA. These complex molecules are of great biological relevance, as can derive in mutations, but are difficult to study because of their heterogeneous chemical properties. New analytical approaches with sufficient detection capabilities to detect and quantify these compounds can help to standardize study models based on synthesized standards. The use of atomic spectrometry can provide quantitative information on the DNA-protein cross-link reaction yield along with basic stoichiometry of the products, based on internal elemental tags, sulfur from Cys and Met amino acids, and phosphorus from the DNA. A new instrumental approach to remove isobaric and polyatomic interferences from 31P+ and 32S+ was developed recently, with state-of-the-art for interference removal that captures 31P+ in Q1; it reacts with O2 in an octopole collision-reaction cell generating 47PO+, therefore allowing detection in Q3 without 31NOH+/48Ca/47Ti interferences. Similarly, 32S+ is reacted to 48SO+, eliminating the polyatomic interferences at m/z = 32. In conjunction with the high resolving power of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), this newer technology was applied by to the product purification of a DNA-protein cross link model and some preliminary structural studies.

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The authors wish to thank Agilent Technologies for the loan of an Agilent Technologies 8800, ICP-MS/MS.

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Correspondence to Julio A. Landero-Figueroa.

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Published in the topical collection Spectrochemical Plasmas for Clinical and Biochemical Analysis with guest editors Alfredo Sanz-Medel and María Montes Bayón.

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Gong, J., Solivio, M.J., Merino, E.J. et al. Developing ICP-MS/MS for the detection and determination of synthetic DNA-protein crosslink models via phosphorus and sulfur detection. Anal Bioanal Chem 407, 2433–2437 (2015).

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  • Bioanalytical methods
  • Speciation
  • Spectroscopy/instrumentation
  • Nucleic acids (DNA | RNA)