Analysis of nucleotides by pressure-assisted capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry using silanol mask technique

J Chromatogr A. 2007 Aug 3;1159(1-2):125-33. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2007.05.054. Epub 2007 May 18.


A method for the determination of nucleotides based on pressure-assisted capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PACE-MS) is described. To prevent multi-phosphorylated species from adsorbing onto the fused-silica capillary, silanol groups were masked with phosphate ions by preconditioning the capillary with the background electrolyte containing phosphate. During preconditioning, nebulizer gas was turned off to avoid contamination of MS detector with phosphate ions. To detect nucleotides using the CE positive mode at a pH 7.5, it was necessary to apply air pressure to the inlet capillary during electrophoresis to supplement the electroosmotic flow (EOF) toward the cathode. Moreover, we exchanged the running electrolyte every analysis using the buffer replenishment system to obtain the required reproducibility. Under the optimized conditions, 14 phosphorylated species such as nucleotides, nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotides and coenzyme A (CoA) compounds were well determined in less than 20 min. The relative standard deviations (n=6) of the method were better than 0.9% for migration times and between 1.7% and 8.1% for peak areas. The detection limits for these species were between 0.5 and 1.7 micromol/L with pressure injection of 50 mbar for 30 s (30 nL) at a signal-to-noise ratio of 3. This approach is robust and quantitative compared to the previous method, and its utility is demonstrated by the analysis of intracellular nucleotides and CoA compounds extracted from Escherichia coli wild type, pfkA and pfkB knockout mutants. The methodology was used to suggest that pfkA is the main functional enzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coenzyme A / analysis
  • Electrolytes
  • Electroosmosis
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary / methods*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / chemistry
  • Nucleotides / analysis*
  • Phosphates / chemistry
  • Pressure
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Silanes / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Systems Integration


  • Electrolytes
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • Phosphates
  • Silanes
  • silanol
  • Coenzyme A