Isomeric Separation of α2,3/α2,6-Linked 2-Aminobenzamide (2AB)-Labeled Sialoglycopeptides by C18-LC-MS/MS

Peilin Jiang, Yifan Huang, Cristian D. Gutierrez Reyes, Jieqiang Zhong, Yehia Mechref

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Determination of the relative expression levels of the α2,3/α2,6-sialic acid linkage isomers on glycoproteins is critical to the analysis of various human diseases such as cancer, inflammation, and viral infection. However, it remains a challenge to separate and differentiate site-specific linkage isomers at the glycopeptide level. Some derivatization methods on the carboxyl group of sialic acid have been developed to generate mass differences between linkage isomers. In this study, we utilized chemical derivatization that occurred on the vicinal diol of sialic acid to separate linkage isomers on a reverse-phase column using a relatively short time. 2-Aminobenzamide (2AB) labeling derivatization, including periodate oxidation and reductive amination, took only ∼3 h and achieved high labeling efficiency (>90%). Within a 66 min gradient, the sialic acid linkage isomers of 2AB-labeled glycopeptides from model glycoproteins can be efficiently resolved compared to native glycopeptides. Two different methods, neuraminidase digestion and higher-energy collision dissociation tandem mass spectrometry (HCD-MS2) fragmentation, were utilized to differentiate those isomeric peaks. By calculating the diagnostic oxonium ion ratio of Gal2ABNeuAc and 2ABNeuAc fragments, significant differences in chromatographic retention times and in mass spectral peak abundances were observed between linkage isomers. Their corresponding MS2 PCA plots also helped to elucidate the linkage information. This method was successfully applied to human blood serum. A total of 514 2AB-labeled glycopeptide structures, including 152 sets of isomers, were identified, proving the applicability of this method in linkage-specific structural characterization and relative quantification of sialic acid isomers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18388-18397
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 19 2023


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