Positive and negative ion electrospray ionization (ESI) tandem mass spectral study of a new series of hybrid peptides, viz, BocN-alpha,beta-peptides and BocN-beta,alpha-peptides, synthesized from C-linked carbo-beta3-amino acids [Caa (S)] and L-Ala has been carried out. The alpha,beta-peptides have been differentiated from beta,alpha-peptides by the collision-induced dissociation (CID) of [M + H]+ and [M - H]- ions in positive and negative ion ESI-MS respectively. The fragment ion [M + H - C(CH3)3 + H]+ formed from [M + H]+ ions by the loss of 2-methyl-prop-2-ene in alpha,beta-peptides with L-Ala at the N-terminus is insignificant or totally absent for beta,alpha-peptides which have the Caa (S) at N-terminus. The fragment ion [M - H-C(CH3)3OH - HNCO]- formed from [M - H]- of beta,alpha-peptide acids is totally absent for alpha,beta-peptide acids. This has been attributed to the absence of the beta-methylene group in alpha,beta-peptides, and the participation of the beta-methylene group in the loss of HNCO in beta,alpha-peptide acids is confirmed by the deuteration experiments. The CID of [M + H-Boc + H]+ ions of these peptides also produce characteristic fragmentation. In the CID spectra of alpha,beta-peptides, the b(n)+ ions and the resulting y(n)+ ions occur at a mass difference of 243 and 71 Da corresponding to the successive losses of Caa and L-Ala, whereas a mass difference of 71 and 243 Da is observed for beta,alpha-peptides. In contrast to the CID of protonated peptides, the CID of [M - H]- ions of the alpha,beta- and beta,alpha-peptide acids do not give b(n)- ions and show abundant z(n) (-) ions. Further, a pair of diastereomeric dipeptide esters and acids have been distinguished by the CID of [M + H]+ ions. The loss of 2-methyl-prop-2-ene is more pronounced for Boc-NH-Caa(R)-D-Ala-OCH3 (21) and Boc-NH-Caa(R)-D-Ala-OH (23) with Caa (R) at the N-terminus, whereas it is totally absent for Boc-NH-Caa (S)-D-Ala-OCH3 (22) and Boc-NH-Caa(S)-D-Ala-OH (24) peptides, which have Caa (S) at the N-terminus. Thus, on the basis of our previous and present studies, we propose that the CID of [M + H]+ ions provides a simple and useful method for distinguishing the configuration of Caa (S or R) at the N-terminus of BocN-carbo beta,alpha- and beta,beta-dipeptides.