To promote efficient separation and structural analysis of glycosaminoglycan oligosaccharides, we developed a straightforward method that combined gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry (MS). Potential limitations of this approach (e.g., low extraction yields and weak compatibility with MS) were resolved by developing an active extraction procedure that yielded a quantitative amount of sulfated oligosaccharides from excised gel bands. The compatibility of obtained oligosaccharides for subsequent MS analysis was ensured using a single, simple clean-up step on a mixed C18/graphite carbon solid-phase column that was fully effective for polymerization degrees ranging from di- to dodecasaccharides. The reported combination of carbohydrates-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with MS was successfully applied to glucosamino- (heparin) and galactosamino- (dermantan sulfate) glycans, demonstrating the potential of our method for structural analysis of bioactive sulfated carbohydrates extracted from biological matrices. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.
Keywords: C-PAGE; Gel extraction; Glycosaminoglycan; Mass spectrometry.