Isomeric Separation of Permethylated Glycans by Porous Graphitic Carbon (PGC)-LC-MS/MS at High Temperatures

Shiyue Zhou, Yifan Huang, Xue Dong, Wenjing Peng, Lucas Veillon, Daniel A.S. Kitagawa, Adelia J.A. Aquino, Yehia Mechref

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Permethylation is a common derivatization method for MS-based glycomic analyses. Permethylation enhances glycan ionization efficiency in positive MS analysis and improves glycan structural stability. Recent biological glycomic studies have added to the growing body of knowledge and suggest the need for complete structural analysis of glycans. However, reverse phase LC analysis of permethylated glycans usually results in poor isomeric separation. To achieve isomeric separation of permethylated glycans, a porous graphitic carbon (PGC) column was used. PGC columns are well-known for their isomeric separation capability for hydrophilic analyses. In this study, we have optimized temperature conditions to overcome the issues encountered while separating permethylated glycans on a PGC column and found that the highest temperature examined, 75 °C, was optimal. Additionally, we utilized tandem MS to elucidate detailed structural information for the isomers separated. Glycan standards were also utilized to facilitate structural identifications through MS/MS spectra and retention time comparison. The result is an efficient and sensitive method capable of the isomeric separation of permethylated glycans. This method was successfully applied for the isomeric characterization of N-glycans released from the breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-231BR (brain seeking). A total of 127 unique glycan structures were identified with 39 isobaric structures, represented as 106 isomers, with 21 nonisomeric glycans. Thirty seven structures exhibited significant differences in isomeric distribution (P < 0.05). Additionally, alterations in the distribution of isomeric sialylated glycans, structures known to be involved in cell attachment to the blood-brain barrier during brain metastasis, were observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6590-6597
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 20 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Isomeric Separation of Permethylated Glycans by Porous Graphitic Carbon (PGC)-LC-MS/MS at High Temperatures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this