Glycomic profiling of tissue sections by LC-MS

Yunli Hu, Shiyue Zhou, Sarah I. Khalil, Calvin L. Renteria, Yehia Mechref

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Because routine preparation of glycan samples involves multiple reaction and cleaning steps at which sample loss occurs, glycan analysis is typically performed using large tissue samples. This type of analysis yields no detailed molecular spatial information and requires special care to maintain proper storage and shipping conditions. We describe here a new glycan sample preparation protocol using minimized sample preparation steps and optimized procedures. Tissue sections and spotted samples first undergo on-surface enzymatic digestion to release N-glycans. The released glycans are then reduced and permethylated prior to online purification and LC-electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS analysis. The efficiency of this protocol was initially evaluated using model glycoproteins and human blood serum (HBS) spotted on glass or Teflon slides. The new protocol permitted the detection of permethylated N-glycans derived from 10 ng RNase B. On the other hand, 66 N-glycans were identified when injecting the equivalent of permethylated glycans derived from a 0.1-μL aliquot of HBS. On-tissue enzymatic digestion of nude mouse brain tissue permitted the detection of 43 N-glycans. The relative peak areas of these 43 glycans were comparable to those from a C57BL/6 mouse reported by the Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG). However, the sample size analyzed in the protocol described here was substantially smaller than for the routine method (submicrogram vs mg). The on-tissue N-glycan profiling method permits high sensitivity and reproducibility and can be widely applied to assess the spatial distribution of glycans associated with tissue sections, and may be correlated with immunoflourescence imaging when adjacent tissue sections are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4074-4079
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 16 2013


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