Application of capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry to the characterization of bacterial lipopolysaccharides



Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is a high-resolution technique for the separation of complex biological mixtures and has been widely applied to biological analyses. The coupling of capillary electrophoresis with mass spectrometry (MS) provides a powerful approach for rapid identification of target analytes present at trace levels in biological matrices, and for structural characterization of complex biomolecules. Here we review the analytical potential of combined capillary electrophoresis electrospray mass spectrometry (CE-MS) for the analysis of bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS). This hyphened methodology facilitates the determination of closely related LPS glycoform and isoform families by exploiting differences in their unique molecular conformations and ionic charge distributions by electrophoretic separation. On-line CE-MS also provides an additional avenue to improve detection limits, which has been successfully applied to directly probe oligosaccharide LPS glycoform populations of bacteria isolated from infected animal models without the need for further passage. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 26:35–50, 2007