Ultrasensitive characterization of site-specific glycosylation of affinity-purified haptoglobin from lung cancer patient plasma using 10 μm i.d. porous layer open tubular liquid chromatography-linear ion trap collision-induced dissociation/electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometry.

Author(s): Wang D,  Hincapie M,  Rejtar T,  Karger BL

Journal: Anal Chem

Date: 2011 Mar 15

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): GLYCO

PubMed ID: 21338062

PMC ID: PMC3073582

Abstract: Site-specific analysis of protein glycosylation is important for biochemical and clinical research efforts. Glycopeptide analysis using liquid chromatography-collision-induced dissociation/electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometry (LC-CID/ETD-MS) allows simultaneous characterization of the glycan structure and attached peptide site. However, due to the low ionization efficiency of glycopeptides during electrospray ionization, 200-500 fmol of sample per injection is needed for a single LC-MS run, which makes it challenging for the analysis of limited amounts of glycoprotein purified from biological matrixes. To improve the sensitivity of LC-MS analysis for glycopeptides, an ultranarrow porous layer open tubular (PLOT) LC column (2.5 m × 10 μm i.d.) was coupled to a linear ion trap (LTQ) collision-induced dissociation/electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometer to provide sensitive analysis of N-linked protein glycosylation heterogeneity. The potential of the developed method is demonstrated by the characterization of site-specific glycosylation using haptoglobin (Hpt) as a model protein. To limit the amount of haptoglobin to low picomole amounts of protein, we affinity purified it from 1 μL of pooled lung cancer patient plasma. A total of 26 glycoforms/glycan compositions on three Hpt tryptic glycopeptides were identified and quantified from 10 LC-MS runs with a consumption of 100 fmol of Hpt digest (13 ng of protein, 10 fmol per injection). Included in this analysis was the determination of the glycan occupancy level. At this sample consumption level, the high sensitivity of the PLOT LC-LTQ-CID/ETD-MS system allowed glycopeptide identification and structure determination, along with relative quantitation of glycans presented on the same peptide backbone, even for low abundant glycopeptides at the ∼100 amol level. The PLOT LC-MS system is shown to have sufficient sensitivity to allow characterization of site-specific protein glycosylation from trace levels of glycosylated proteins.