Electron-capture dissociation tandem mass spectrometry

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2004 Feb;15(1):12-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2003.12.002.


Electron capture dissociation (ECD) is a new fragmentation technique used in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry and is complementary to traditional tandem mass spectrometry techniques. Disulfide bonds, normally stable to vibrational excitation, are preferentially cleaved in ECD. Fragmentation is fast and specific and labile post-translational modifications and non-covalent bonds often remain intact after backbone bond dissociation. ECD provides more extensive sequence coverage in polypeptides, and at higher electron energies even isoleucine and leucine are distinguishable. In biotechnology, the main area of ECD application is expected to be the top-down verification of DNA-predicted protein sequences, de novo sequencing, disulfide bond analysis and the combined top-down/bottom-up analysis of post-translational modifications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Electrons
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / instrumentation
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis / instrumentation
  • Sequence Analysis / methods*


  • Proteins
  • DNA