Quantitative glycomics of human whole serum glycoproteins based on the standardized protocol for liberating N-glycans

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2007 Aug;6(8):1437-45. doi: 10.1074/mcp.T600063-MCP200. Epub 2007 May 23.


Global glycomics of human whole serum glycoproteins appears to be an innovative and comprehensive approach to identify surrogate non-invasive biomarkers for various diseases. Despite the fact that quantitative glycomics is premised on highly efficient and reproducible oligosaccharide liberation from human serum glycoproteins, it should be noted that there is no validated protocol for which deglycosylation efficiency is proven to be quantitative. To establish a standard procedure to evaluate N-glycan release from whole human serum glycoproteins by peptide-N-glycosidase F (PNGase F) treatment, we determined the efficiencies of major N-glycan liberation from serum glycoproteins in the presence of reducing agents, surfactants, protease treatment, or combinations of pretreatments prior to PNGase F digestion. We show that de-N-glycosylation efficiency differed significantly depending on the condition used, indicative of the importance of a standardized protocol for the accumulation and comparison of glycomics data. Maximal de-N-glycosylation was achieved when serum was subjected to reductive alkylation in the presence of 2-hydroxyl-3-sulfopropyl dodecanoate, a surfactant used for solubilizing proteins, or related analogues, followed by tryptic digestion prior to PNGase F treatment. An optimized de-N-glycosylation protocol permitted relative and absolute quantitation of up to 34 major N-glycans present in serum glycoproteins of normal subjects for the first time. Moreover PNGase F-catalyzed de-N-glycosylation of whole serum glycoproteins was characterized kinetically, allowing accurate simulation of PNGase F-catalyzed de-N-glycosylation required for clinical glycomics using human serum samples. The results of the current study may provide a firm basis to identify new diagnostic markers based on serum glycomics analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Glycoproteins / analysis*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods


  • Blood Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides