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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2017 Nov;16(11):2032-2047. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M117.068239. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

A Comprehensive, Open-source Platform for Mass Spectrometry-based Glycoproteomics Data Analysis.

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From the ‡Chemical and Biological Engineering.
§Clinical & Translational Research Center.
¶Pharmaceutical Sciences; and.
‖New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, Buffalo, New York.
From the ‡Chemical and Biological Engineering;


Glycosylation is among the most abundant and diverse protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) identified to date. The structural analysis of this PTM is challenging because of the diverse monosaccharides which are not conserved among organisms, the branched nature of glycans, their isomeric structures, and heterogeneity in the glycan distribution at a given site. Glycoproteomics experiments have adopted the traditional high-throughput LC-MSn proteomics workflow to analyze site-specific glycosylation. However, comprehensive computational platforms for data analyses are scarce. To address this limitation, we present a comprehensive, open-source, modular software for glycoproteomics data analysis called GlycoPAT (GlycoProteomics Analysis Toolbox; freely available from The program includes three major advances: (1) "SmallGlyPep," a minimal linear representation of glycopeptides for MSn data analysis. This format allows facile serial fragmentation of both the peptide backbone and PTM at one or more locations. (2) A novel scoring scheme based on calculation of the "Ensemble Score (ES)," a measure that scores and rank-orders MS/MS spectrum for N- and O-linked glycopeptides using cross-correlation and probability based analyses. (3) A false discovery rate (FDR) calculation scheme where decoy glycopeptides are created by simultaneously scrambling the amino acid sequence and by introducing artificial monosaccharides by perturbing the original sugar mass. Parallel computing facilities and user-friendly GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) are also provided. GlycoPAT is used to catalogue site-specific glycosylation on simple glycoproteins, standard protein mixtures and human plasma cryoprecipitate samples in three common MS/MS fragmentation modes: CID, HCD and ETD. It is also used to identify 960 unique glycopeptides in cell lysates from prostate cancer cells. The results show that the simultaneous consideration of peptide and glycan fragmentation is necessary for high quality MSn spectrum annotation in CID and HCD fragmentation modes. Additionally, they confirm the suitability of GlycoPAT to analyze shotgun glycoproteomics data.

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