Liquid chromatographic separations on monolayers of cell membrane phospholipids covalently immobilized to silica particles at high molecular density is used for mimicking solute partitioning into biological membranes that generally correlates with membrane transport. This technique called immobilized artificial membrane chromatography usually employs ultraviolet (UV) detection where a single compound is analyzed in a chromatographic run limiting thereby its throughput for drug discovery applications. For coupling with atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry, the phosphate-buffered saline mobile phase was replaced with one that used ammonium acetate as a volatile buffer. While atmospheric pressure chemical ionization accommodated a purely aqueous effluent, interfacing with electrospray ionization required effluent splitting and the addition of an organic modifier (5%, v/v, acetonitrile). Neuropeptide FF antagonists as early-phase drug candidates were used for the comparative evaluation of the methods. Whereas electrospray ionization produced essentially no fragment ions, several compounds involved in our study yielded low-abundance molecular ions with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The use of mass spectrometry yielded data that correlated well with those obtained by the method employing UV detection. Both atmospheric pressure ionization methods permitted the simultaneous determination of the kIAM′ capacity factors and, therefore, an increased-throughput ranking of potential new leads emerged from the drug discovery process based on affinity to artificial membranes.
- Interfaces, LC-MS
- Membrane chromatography