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Anal Chem. 2013 Nov 5;85(21):10017-21. doi: 10.1021/ac402886q. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Detailed glycan structural characterization by electronic excitation dissociation.

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Department of Biochemistry, Boston University , 670 Albany St. Suite 504, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, United States.


The structural complexity and diversity of glycans parallel their multilateral functions in living systems. To better understand the vital roles glycans play in biological processes, it is imperative to develop analytical tools that can provide detailed glycan structural information. This was conventionally achieved by multistage tandem mass spectrometry (MS(n)) analysis using collision-induced dissociation (CID) as the fragmentation method. However, the MS(n) approach lacks the sensitivity and throughput needed to analyze complex glycan mixtures from biological sources, often available in limited quantities. We define herein the critical parameters for a recently developed fragmentation technique, electronic excitation dissociation (EED), which can yield rich structurally informative fragment ions during liquid chromatographic (LC)-MS/MS analysis of glycans. We further demonstrate that permethylation, reducing end labeling and judicious selection of the metal charge carrier, can greatly facilitate spectral interpretation. With its high sensitivity, throughput, and compatibility with online chromatographic separation techniques, EED appears to hold great promise for large-scale glycomics studies.

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