Analytical Chemistry, 0 (2023)
by Brandon Y. Lieng; Andrew T. Quaile; Hannes L. Rös (Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto); Xavier Domingo-Almenara (Centre for Omics Sciences, Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia & Rovira i Virgili University Joint Unit)
Commonly, in MS-based untargeted metabolomics, some metabolites cannot be confidently identified due to ambiguities in resolving isobars and structurally similar species. To address this, analytical techniques beyond traditional MS2 analysis, such as MSn fragmentation, can be applied to probe metabolites for additional structural information. In MSn fragmentation, recursive cycles of activation are applied to fragment ions originating from the same precursor ion detected on an MS1 spectrum. This resonant-type collision-activated dissociation (CAD) can yield information that cannot be ascertained from MS2 spectra alone, which helps improve the performance of metabolite identification workflows. However, most approaches for metabolite identification require mass-to-charge (m/z) values measured with high resolution, as this enables the determination of accurate mass values. Unfortunately, high-resolution-MSn spectra are relatively rare in spectral libraries. Here, we describe a computational approach to generate a database of high-resolution-MSn spectra by converting existing low-resolution-MSn spectra using complementary high-resolution-MS2 spectra generated by beam-type CAD. Using this method, we have generated a database, derived from the NIST20 MS/MS database, of MSn spectral trees representing 9637 compounds and 19386 precursor ions where at least 90% of signal intensity was converted from low-to-high resolution.