Rapid and efficient glycoprotein identification through microwave-assisted enzymatic digestion

Zaneer M. Segu, Loubna A. Hammad, Yehia Mechref

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Identification of protein glycosylation sites is analytically challenging due to the diverse glycan structures associated with a glycoprotein. Mass spectrometry (MS)-based identification and characterization of glycoproteins has been achieved predominantly with the bottom-up approach, which typically involves the enzymatic cleavage of proteins to peptides prior to LC/MS or LC/MS/MS analysis. However, the process can be challenging due to the structural variations and steric hindrance imposed by the attached glycans. Alternatives to conventional heating protocols, that increase the rate of enzymatic cleavage of glycoproteins, may aid in addressing these challenges. An enzymatic digestion of a glycoprotein can be accelerated and made more efficient through microwave- assisted digestion. In this paper, a systematic study was conducted to explore the efficiency of microwave-assisted enzymatic (trypsin) digestion (MAED) of glycoproteins as compared with the conventional method. In addition, the optimum experimental parameters for the digestion such as temperature, reaction time, and microwave radiation power were investigated. It was determined that efficient tryptic digestion of glycoproteins was attained in 15 min, allowing comparable if not better sequence coverage through LC/MS/MS analysis. Optimum tryptic cleavage was achieved at 45-C irrespective of the size and complexity of the glycoprotein. Moreover, MAED allowed the detection and identification of more peptides and subsequently higher sequence coverage for all model glycoprotein. MAED also did not appear to prompt a loss or partial cleavage of the glycan moieties attached to the peptide backbones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3461-3468
Number of pages8
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 15 2010


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