Purification and MALDI-MS characterization of stressin, a stress-associated glycoprotein

Biol Chem. 1999 Apr;380(4):443-50. doi: 10.1515/BC.1999.058.


Glycoconjugates have a whole spectrum of biological roles, from those that appear trivial to those that are crucial. Results accumulated in the past years indicate they might also play an important role in the response to stress, a complex physiological response of the human organism to various threats. We have recently identified stressin, a human serum glycoprotein, which was found to be increased under stress conditions. Here we report the purification of stressin from sera of professional soldiers and partial characterization of its protein and carbohydrate parts using lectin blotting and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). Stressin was purified using a combination of ammonium sulfate precipitation, ion exchange chromatography, preparative gel electrophoresis and reverse-phase HPLC. It was found to be a highly glycosylated protein. Only 21.9 kDa (out of 36.7 kDa) was the protein part, whereas the remaining 40% of the mass originated from N-linked oligosaccharides. The carbohydrate part contained 12 sialic acids moieties, nearly 90% of which were lost due to post-source decay in the field-free tube. Tryptic fragments were produced from glycosylated and deglycosylated stressin, separated by reverse-phase HPLC and their exact molecular masses were determined using MALDI-MS. Comparison with tryptic maps of other proteins in computer databases indicated that stressin does not correspond to any already described protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Glycoproteins / blood
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / isolation & purification*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*


  • Glycoproteins