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Anal Biochem. 1998 Mar 15;257(2):149-60.

Mass spectrometric determination of the sites of O-glycan attachment with low picomolar sensitivity.

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Department of Mass Spectrometry, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


A sensitive protocol for unambiguously and positively identifying O-glycosylation sites in glycopeptides is described, based on beta-elimination of the glycan chain(s) using NH4OH. On glycan elimination, NH3 is incorporated into the amino acid residue(s) to which the glycan(s) had been attached, to yield a modified amino acid residue having a distinct mass. Electrospray ionization collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectrometry allows the released, modified peptide to be sequenced and the site(s) of the modified amino acid residue(s) to be identified. The protocol has been optimized using a series of structurally related O-glycopeptides, and standard conditions are recommended for handling unknowns. We demonstrate that site determination can be achieved using as little as 1 pmol of starting material.

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