Native intact mass determination of antibodies conjugated with monomethyl Auristatin E and F at interchain cysteine residues

Anal Chem. 2012 Mar 20;84(6):2843-9. doi: 10.1021/ac203346c. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


We present here a method for the rapid determination of the intact mass of noncovalently associated antibody heavy chains (HC) and light chains (LC) which result from the attachment of drug conjugates to interchain cysteine residues. By analyzing the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) using native desalting conditions, we maintain the intact bivalent structure of the ADC, which ordinarily would decompose as a consequence of denaturing chromatographic conditions typically used for liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometric (LC-MS) analysis. The mass of the desalted ADC is subsequently determined using standard desolvation and ionization conditions. Methods presented previously in the literature for analyzing interchain cysteinyl-linked ADCs are either not amenable to online mass spectrometry or result in the denaturing dissociation of conjugated HC and LC during chromatographic separation and subsequent mass measurement. We have avoided this outcome with our method and have successfully and routinely obtained intact mass measurement of IgG1 mAbs conjugated with maleimidocaproyl-monomethyl Auristatin F (mcMMAF) and valine-citrulline-monomethyl Auristatin E (vcMMAE) at interchain cysteine residues. Our results thus represent the first reported direct measurement of the intact mass of an ADC conjugated at interchain cysteine residues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cysteine / chemistry*
  • Immunoconjugates / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Oligopeptides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • monomethylauristatin F
  • Cysteine
  • monomethyl auristatin E