Analytical Sciences, Contributed Talk (15min)

Analysis of Protein Modification caused by low-temperature plasma treatment

A. I. Begley1, I. Oganesyan1, R. Zenobi1*
1Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETHZ

Plasma medicine is an emerging field that uses reactive species generated in low temperature plasmas for skin treatments, surgical procedures, and dental treatments.1,2 While there have been promising results for many applications, the mechanisms and fundamentals of plasma medicine are still underexplored.

We are specifically interested in generating reactive species from a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma and allowing them to interact with a set of model proteins. We can follow the complex changes that occur in big proteins exposed to the radicals, ions, and excited neutral species of the plasma by a variety of mass spectrometric methods. Using native nano electrospray high-resolution mass spectrometry (nESI-HRMS) we can detect small shifts in the molecular weight of the protein. To understand whether the three-dimensional structure of the protein is modified we ionize and detect the modified protein using a hyphenated cyclic ion mobility spectroscopy (IMS) technique. Lastly, we can detect which specific amino acid sites within the protein are affected by the low temperature plasma by fragmenting the intact protein in the mass spectrometer using an ECD cell.

These analytical tools reveal the chemical and structural modification of model proteins induced by reactive plasma species and can serve as a pipeline for studying applications of plasma medicine.


[1]   M. Laroussi, Front. Phys., 2020, 8, 1–7.
[2]  A. Fridman, G. Friedman, Plasma Medicine 2013. doi:10.1002/9781118437704.