Hydrophilic affinity isolation and MALDI multiple-stage tandem mass spectrometry of glycopeptides for glycoproteomics

Anal Chem. 2004 Nov 15;76(22):6560-5. doi: 10.1021/ac049062o.


In glycoproteomics, key structural issues, protein identification, locations of glycosylation sites, and evaluation of the glycosylation site microheterogeneity should be easily evaluated in a large number of glycoproteins, while mass spectrometry (MS) provides substantial information about individual purified glycoproteins. Considering that structural issues are elucidated by studying glycopeptides and that the tandem MS of a tryptic peptide composed of several amino acid residues is enough for protein identification, construction of an MS-based method handling tryptic glycopeptides would be of considerable benefit in research. To this end, a simple and efficient method, utilizing hydrophilic binding of carbohydrate matrixes such as cellulose and Sepharose to oligosaccharides, was successfully applied to the isolation of tryptic glycopeptides. Both peptide and oligosaccharide structures were elucidated by multiple-stage tandem MS (MS(n)) of the ions generated by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), as follows. The MALDI ion trap mass spectrum of a tryptic glycopeptide mixture from N-linked glycoproteins was composed of the [M + H]+ ions of component glycopeptides. Collision-induced dissociation (CID) of the glycopeptide [M + H]+ ion generated saccharide-spaced peaks, with an interval of, for example, 146, 162, and 203 Da, and their fragment ions corresponding to the peptide and peptide + N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) species in the MS2 spectrum. The saccharide-spaced ladder served to outline oligosaccharide structures, which were then selected as precursors for subsequent MS(n) analyses. The peptide or peptide + GlcNAc ions in the MS2 spectrum or the corresponding ions abundant in the MS1 spectrum were subjected to CID for determination of peptide sequences, to identify proteins and their glycosylation sites. The strategy, isolation of glycopeptides followed by MS(n) analysis, efficiently characterized the structures of beta2-glycoprotein I with four N-glycosylation sites and was applied to an analysis of total serum glycoproteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chromatography, Affinity / methods*
  • Glycopeptides / chemistry
  • Glycopeptides / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteomics*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Glycopeptides