This invention is a new class of detergent compounds that can solubilize membrane proteins and then be directly injected into a mass spectrometer for analysis. Because these compounds degrade with virtually no ion suppression they do not need to be removed prior to analysis by mass spectrometry; the detergents completely disappear from the sample. These new surfactants are formed from a composite of two molecules that do not have detergent properties on their own. The resulting detergents are effective over a wide range of pH and can be diluted to any concentration to dissolve membrane proteins or optimize enzymatic reactions. These compounds break up and go away under vacuum and therefore have virtually no ion-suppression (in contrast to standard detergents that are incompatible with mass spectrometers). These new reagents can be used for protein purification and enzymatic reactions for research and diagnostic applications of mass spectrometry.Stage of ResearchThe inventor has used these compounds to mimic in vivo membrane conditions for enzymatic reactions to detect sphingolipid metabolism disorders (such as Niemann-Pick or Gaucher disease).
1) Direct injection - because these compounds degrade with virtually no ion suppression they do not need to be removed prior to analysis by mass spectrometry 2) Faster better yield - direct injection eliminates a difficult and tedious preparation step that can result in significant loss of sample mass 3) Clean and easily made reagents 4) Unique - the detergents are functional in the whole range of pH and then disintegrate under vacuum in the source of the mass spectrometry requiring no pH manipulation