A Reciprocal Best-hit Approach to Characterize Isomeric N-Glycans Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Rui Zhang, Wenjing Peng, Yifan Huang, Sakshi Gautam, Junyao Wang, Yehia Mechref, Haixu Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Glycosylation is a post-translational modification involved in many important biological functions. The aberrant alteration of glycan structure is implicit with malfunction of cells and possess potential significance in medical diagnosis of complex diseases such as cancer. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has been commonly applied to the analysis of complex glycomic samples. However, the characterization of isomeric glycans from their MS/MS spectra in complex biological samples remains challenging. In this paper, we present a novel reciprocal best-hit glycan-spectrum matching (RB-GSM) approach toward characterizing N-glycans. In this method, the MS/MS spectra in the input data set are evaluated against all glycans with the matched precursor mass using customized scoring functions, where a glycan-spectrum matching (GSM) is considered to be true if it is a reciprocal best-hit, that is, it receives the highest score among not only the GSMs between the respective spectrum and all matched glycans, but also the GSMs between the respective glycan and all matched MS/MS spectra in the input data set. We evaluated this RB-GSM approach on N-glycan identification using MS/MS spectra acquired from glycan standards as well as those released from the model glycoprotein fetuin, immunoglobulin G, and human serum samples, which showed the RB-GSM is capable of distinguishing isomeric glycans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10003-10010
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 19 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'A Reciprocal Best-hit Approach to Characterize Isomeric N-Glycans Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this