Comparison of ZnS semiconductor nanoparticles capped with various functional groups as the matrix and affinity probes for rapid analysis of cyclodextrins and proteins in surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.Anal Chem. 2008 Dec 15; 80(24):9681-8.AC
Zinc sulfide (ZnS) semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) capped with a variety of functional groups including bare ZnS NPs, 3-mercaptopropanoic acid (ZnS-3-MPA), sodium citrate (ZnS-citrate), cysteamine (ZnS-Cys), and 2-mercaptoethane sulfonate (ZnS-2-MES) have been investigated as the matrix and affinity probes for analysis of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-cyclodextrins (CDs), ubiquitin, and insulin in biological samples by using surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SALDI-TOF-MS). Various parameters that would influence the ionization efficiency and sensitivity of these ZnS NPs in SALDI-TOF-MS were examined including the effect of capping agents, sample pH, ion abundance, and concentration of ZnS NPs. Among these ZnS NPs, our results have demonstrated that ZnS-3-MPA exhibited the highest efficiency toward CDs, ubiquitin, and insulin for high-sensitivity detection in SALDI-TOF-MS. The detection limits were 20-55 nM for CDs, 91 nM for ubiquitin, and 85 nM for insulin. The applicability of the present method is demonstrated by detection of ubiquitin-like proteins in oyster mushroom and also in the analysis of analytes in biological samples such as human urine and plasma. To our best knowledge, this is the first time semiconductor NPs were used as the matrix and affinity probes for high-sensitivity detection of organic and biomolecules in SALDI-TOF-MS. This approach exhibits the advantages of being simple, rapid, efficient, and straightforward for direct analysis of organic and biological samples in SALDI-TOF-MS without the need for time-consuming separation processes, tedious washing steps, or further laborious purification. In addition, it also can provide a sensitive and reliable quantitative assay for small- and large-molecule analysis with the detectable mass up to 8500 Da. We believe that this novel ZnS nanoprobe is simple, efficient, lower cost (compared with Au, Ag, and Pt NPs), fast, and with the potential for high-throughput analysis in SALDI-TOF-MS.