Structural characterization of highly sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) by collisionally activated disso-ciation (CAD) is challenging because of the extensive sulfate losses mediated by free protons. While removal of the free protons may be achieved through the use of derivatization, metal cation adducts, and/or electrospray supercharging reagents, these steps add complexity to the experimental workflow. It is therefore desirable to develop an analytical approach for GAG sequencing that does not require derivatization or addition of reagents to the electrospray solution. Electron detachment dissociation (EDD) can produce extensive and informative fragmentation for GAGs without the need to remove free protons from the precursor ions. However, EDD is an inefficient process, often requiring consumption of large sample quantities (typically several micrograms), particularly for highly sulfated GAG ions. Here, we report that with improved instrumentation, optimization of the ionization and ion transfer parameters, and enhanced EDD efficiency, it is possible to generate highly informative EDD spectra of highly sulfated GAGs on the liquid chromatography (LC) time-scale, with consumption of only a few nanograms of sample. We further show that negative electron transfer dissociation (NETD) is an even more effective fragmentation technique for GAG sequencing, producing fewer sulfate losses while consuming smaller amount of samples. Finally, a simple algorithm was developed for de novo HS sequencing based on their high resolution tandem mass spectra. These results demonstrate the potential of EDD and NETD as sensitive analytical tools for detailed, high-throughput, de novo structural analyses of highly sulfated GAGs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heparan sulfate (HS) is a linear polysaccharide expressed on cell surfaces, in extracellular matrices and cellular granules in metazoan cells. Through non-covalent binding to growth factors, morphogens, chemokines and other protein families, HS is involved in all multicellular physiological activities. Its biological activities depend on the fine structures of its protein-binding domains, the determination of which remains a daunting task. Methods have advanced to the point that information-rich product ion mass spectra may be produced on purified HS saccharides. However, the interpretation of these complex product ion patterns has emerged as the bottleneck to the dissemination of these HS sequencing methods. To solve this problem, we designed HS-SEQ, the first comprehensive algorithm for HS de novo sequencing using high-resolution tandem mass spectra. We tested HS-SEQ using negative electron transfer dissociation (NETD) tandem mass spectra generated from a set of pure synthetic saccharide standards with diverse sulfation patterns. The results showed that HS-SEQ rapidly and accurately determined the correct HS structures from large candidate pools.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heparan sulfate (HS) 3-O-sulfation determines the binding specificity of HS/heparin for antithrombin III and plays a key role in herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. However, the low natural abundance of HS 3-O-sulfation poses a serious challenge for functional studies other than the two cases mentioned above. By contrast, multiple distinct isoforms of 3-O-sulfotranserases exist in mammals (up to seven isoenzymes). Here we describe a novel peeling reaction that specifically degrades HS chains with 3-O-sulfated glucosamine at the reducing-end. When HS/heparin is enzymatically depolymerized for compositional analysis, 3-O-sulfated glucosamine at the reducing ends appears to be susceptible to degradation under mildly basic conditions. We propose a 3-O-desulfation initiated peeling reaction mechanism based on the intermediate and side-reaction products observed. Our discovery calls for the re-evaluation of the natural abundance and functions of HS 3-O-sulfation by taking into consideration of the negative impact of this novel peeling reaction.
Anna Natale, Donatella Nardiello, Carmen Palermo, Marilena Muscarella, Maurizio Quinto, Diego Centonze
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