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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2005 May;16(5):647-59.

Fragmentation of negative ions from carbohydrates: part 3. Fragmentation of hybrid and complex N-linked glycans.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Glycobiology Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Hybrid and complex N-linked glycans were ionized by electrospray in the presence of ammonium nitrate to give [M + NO3]- and [M + (NO3)2]2- ions. Low energy collision-induced decomposition (CID) spectra of both types of ions were almost identical and were dominated by C-type glycosidic and cross-ring fragments, unlike the corresponding spectra of the positive ions that contained mainly B- and Y-type glycosidic fragments. Also, in contrast to fragments in the positive ion spectra, many of these ions appeared to be produced by single pathways following proton abstraction from specific hydroxy groups. Consequently, many ions were diagnostic for specific structural features. Such features included the composition of each of the two antennas, the presence or absence of a bisecting GlcNAc residue, and the location of fucose residues on the core GlcNAc residues and on the antennas. C-ions defined the sequence of the constituent monosaccharide residues. Detailed fragmentation mechanisms are proposed to account for several of the diagnostic ions.

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