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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2007 Oct;18(10):1873-9. Epub 2007 Jul 29.

Discrimination of 16 structural isomers of fucosyl galactoside based on energy-resolved mass spectrometry.

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Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences (MITILS), Machida-shi, Tokyo, Japan.


Glycans, a family of compounds often attached to proteins and ceramides, are diverse molecules involved in a wide range of biological functions. Their structural analysis is necessary and is often carried out at the microscale level. Methods based on mass spectrometry are therefore used, although they do not provide information regarding isomeric structures often found in glycan structures. If one finds "factors" characteristic of a certain isomer, this information can be used to elucidate an unknown oligosaccharide sequence. One potential technique is to use energy-resolved mass spectrometry (ERMS) that has been used to distinguish a pair of isomeric compounds. Thus, compounds in a combinatorial library might be effectively used for this purpose. We analyzed a set of 16 isomeric disaccharides, the structures of which consisted of all possible combinations of anomeric configurations and interglycosidic linkage positions. All of the compounds were distinguished based on ERMS where normal collision-induced dissociation could distinguish only seven compounds. Furthermore, it was shown that alpha-glycosidic linkages of fucose were more reactive than the beta-isomers and the secondary glycosides were more reactive than the primary glycosides.

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