Structure determination of O-linked glycopeptides by tandem mass spectrometry



A new method for characterizing O-linked glycopeptides without chemical degradation is presented. Collisioninduced dissociation (CID) analysis of intact O-linked glycopeptides containing mono-and disaccharides was performed. For glycopeptides containing one hexose unit, both the peptide sequence and the site of attachment of the sugar moiety were obtained from a single high-energy CID spectrum. However, in a glycopeptide bearing multiple sugar residues per site, the CID spectrum was dominated by fragments resulting from cleavages of the carbohydrate substituents and the gas-phase deglycosylated peptide, thus obviating the concomitant observation of peptide sequence ions. Hence, information on the structures of the carbohydrate substituents was obtained, but not on the sites of attachment of these residues to the peptide. Subsequent CID analysis of the gas-phase deglycosylated peptide ion can be used to obtain the sequence of the peptide backbone from the same sample. This method holds promise for simultaneously determining the carbohydrate structure and the peptide sequence of intact O-linked glycopeptides without chemical degradation.