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Separation and Identification of Isomeric Glycopeptides by High Field Asymmetric Waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry

Creese, Andrew J., Cooper, Helen J.
Analytical chemistry 2012 v.84 no.5 pp. 2597-2601
dissociation, electric power, electron transfer, gases, glycopeptides, glycosylation, ions, isomerization, mass spectrometry, mucins, reversed-phase liquid chromatography
The analysis of intact glycopeptides by mass spectrometry is challenging due to the numerous possibilities for isomerization, both within the attached glycan and the location of the modification on the peptide backbone. Here, we demonstrate that high field asymmetric wave ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS), also known as differential ion mobility, is able to separate isomeric O-linked glycopeptides that have identical sequences but differing sites of glycosylation. Two glycopeptides from the glycoprotein mucin 5AC, GT(GalNAc)TPSPVPTTSTTSAP and GTTPSPVPTTST(GalNAc)TSAP (where GalNAc is O-linked N-acetylgalactosamine), were shown to coelute following reversed-phase liquid chromatography. However, FAIMS analysis of the glycopeptides revealed that the compensation voltage ranges in which the peptides were transmitted differed. Thus, it is possible at certain compensation voltages to completely separate the glycopeptides. Separation of the glycopeptides was confirmed by unique reporter ions produced by supplemental activation electron transfer dissociation mass spectrometry. These fragments also enable localization of the site of glycosylation. The results suggest that glycan position plays a key role in determining gas-phase glycopeptide structure and have implications for the application of FAIMS in glycoproteomics.