Characterization of gel-separated glycoproteins using two-step proteolytic digestion combined with sequential microcolumns and mass spectrometry

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Protein glycosylation can be vital for changing the function or physiochemical properties of a protein. Abnormal glycosylation can lead to protein malfunction, resulting in severe diseases. Therefore, it is important to develop techniques for characterization of such modifications in proteins at a sensitivity level comparable with state-of-the-art proteomics. Whereas techniques exist for characterization of high abundance glycoproteins, no single method is presently capable of providing information on both site occupancy and glycan structure on a single band excised from an electrophoretic gel. We present a new technique that allows characterization of low amounts of glycoproteins separated by gel electrophoresis. The method takes advantage of sequential specific and nonspecific enzymatic treatment followed by selective purification and characterization of the glycopeptides using graphite powder microcolumns in combination with mass spectrometry. The method is faster and more sensitive than previous approaches and is compatible with proteomic studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)107-19
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1. Feb 2005



  • Acetonitriles
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Endopeptidase K
  • Glycopeptides
  • Glycoproteins
  • Glycosylation
  • Graphite
  • Hexoses
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Ovalbumin
  • Peptides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteomics
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Time Factors

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