Axinastatin 3 as a potential anticancer agent was synthesized by chemical methods. In an electrospray ion-trap mass spectrometer, using one stage of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), the linear peptide intermediate was sequenced via the complementarities of y and b ions. Then, using multistep MS/MS (to MS6), the cyclic peptide was sequenced through sequentially removing one amino acid residue in each stage of MS/MS. The difference of the fragmentation mechanisms and the sequencing approaches between them is discussed.
Two heptapeptides have been prepared by Fmoc methodology using Wang resin as solid support. For attachment of the first amino acid, several coupling systems were evaluated, and DIC/DMAP system could give yields of >99% and low levels of racemization. The selection of scavenger combination to deprotect side chains revealed that H2O/p-cresol was good at scavenging trityl and 1,2-ethanedithiol was highly efficient for scavenging t-butyl. Through shortening the preactivation time to 5 min, the racemization which occurred during formation of amide bonds coupled by HBTU was minimized. The crude peptides were characterized by RP-HPLC and MS, and sequenced by MS/MS to acquire reliable amino acid sequence information.