Probing the complementarity of FAIMS and strong cation exchange chromatography in shotgun proteomics

Andrew Creese, Neil Shimwell, Katherine Larkins, John Heath, Helen Cooper

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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High field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS), also known as differential ion mobility spectrometry, coupled with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) offers benefits for the analysis of complex proteomics samples. Advantages include increased dynamic range, increased signal-to-noise, and reduced interference from ions of similar m/z. FAIMS also separates isomers and positional variants. An alternative, and more established, method of reducing sample complexity is prefractionation by use of strong cation exchange chromatography. Here, we have compared SCX-LC-MS/MS with LC-FAIMS-MS/MS for the identification of peptides and proteins from whole cell lysates from the breast carcinoma SUM52 cell line. Two FAIMS approaches are considered: (1) multiple compensation voltages within a single LC-MS/MS analysis (internal stepping) and (2) repeat LC-MS/MS analyses at different and fixed compensation voltages (external stepping). We also consider the consequence of the fragmentation method (electron transfer dissociation or collision-induced dissociation) on the workflow performance. The external stepping approach resulted in a greater number of protein and peptide identifications than the internal stepping approach for both ETD and CID MS/MS, suggesting that this should be the method of choice for FAIMS proteomics experiments. The overlap in protein identifications from the SCX method and the external FAIMS method was ~25 % for both ETD and CID, and for peptides was less than 20 %. The lack of overlap between FAIMS and SCX highlights the complementarity of the two techniques. Charge state analysis of the peptide assignments showed that the FAIMS approach identified a much greater proportion of triply-charged ions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-443
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • High-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry
  • Differential ion mobility
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Strong cation exchange
  • Collision induced dissociation
  • Electron transfer dissociation
  • Proteomics


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