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Keywords:

  • Glycoproteomics;
  • Miniaturization;
  • MS

Abstract

Protein glycosylation is involved in a broad range of biological processes that regulate protein function and control cell fate. As aberrant glycosylation has been found to be implicated in numerous diseases, the study and large-scale characterization of protein glycosylation is of great interest not only to the biological and biomedical research community, but also to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Due to the complex chemical structure and differing chemical properties of the protein/peptide and glycan moieties, the analysis and structural characterization of glycoproteins has been proven to be a difficult task. Large-scale endeavors have been further limited by the dynamic outcome of the glycosylation process itself, and, occasionally, by the low abundance of glycoproteins in biological samples. Recent advances in MS instrumentation and progress in miniaturized technologies for sample handling, enrichment and separation, have resulted in robust and compelling analysis strategies that effectively address the challenges of the glycoproteome. This review summarizes the key steps that are involved in the development of efficient glycoproteomic analysis methods, and the latest innovations that led to successful strategies for the characterization of glycoproteins and their corresponding glycans. As a follow-up to this work, we review innovative capillary and microfluidic-MS workflows for the identification, sequencing and characterization of glycoconjugates.