Protein glycosylation has a major influence on functions of proteins. Studies have shown that aberrations in glycosylation are indicative of disease conditions. This has prompted major research activities for comparative studies of glycoproteins in biological samples. Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) is a highly sensitive technique which has been recently explored for quantitative proteomics. In this work, MRM was adopted for quantification of glycopeptides derived from both model glycoproteins and depleted human blood serum using glycan oxonium ions as transitions. The utilization of oxonium ions aids in identifying the different types of glycans bound to peptide backbones. MRM experiments were optimized by evaluating different parameters that have a major influence on quantification of glycopeptides, which include MRM time segments, number of transitions, and normalized collision energies. The results indicate that oxonium ions could be adopted for the characterization and quantification of glycopeptides in general, eliminating the need to select specific transitions for individual precursor ions. Also, the specificity increased with the number of transitions and a more sensitive analysis can be obtained by providing specific time segments. This approach can be applied to comparative and quantitative studies of glycopeptides in biological samples as illustrated for the case of depleted blood serum sample.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.