Characterization of immunoglobulins through analysis of N-glycopeptides by MALDI-TOF MS

Abstract : The aim of this report is to emphasize the role, usefulness and power of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in the analysis of glycoforms of antibodies (Abs) through their proteolytic glycopeptides. Abs are complex biomolecules in which glycans hold determinant properties and thus need to be thoroughly characterized following Ab production by recombinant methods or Ab collection from human/animal serum or tissue. In spite of the great robustness of MALDI-TOF MS in terms of tolerance to impurities, the analysis of Abs and Ab components using this technique requires extensive sample preparation involving all or some of chromatography, solid phase extraction, enzymatic modification, and chemical derivatization. This report focuses on a monoclonal Ab produced in cell culture, as well as on a polyclonal human immunoglobulin (Ig) G obtained commercially and a poly-clonal porcine IgG obtained from serum. A method is first provided to separate Ab protein chain components (light chains, heavy chains) by gel electrophoresis, which is useful for instance for protein-A eluates of Igs either from cell culture or biological samples. This allows for in-gel proteolytic digestion of the protein gel band(s) of choice for further MS characterization. Also discussed is the more conventional in-solution overnight digestion method used here with each of two proteolytic enzymes, i.e. trypsin and chymotrypsin. The overnight method is in turn compared with a much faster approach, that of digesting Abs with trypsin or chymotrypsin through the action of microwave heating. For method comparison, gly-copeptides are fractionated from digestion mixtures using mostly C-18 cartridges for simplicity, although this enrichment procedure is also compared with other published procedures. The advantages of MALDI tandem mass spectrometry are highlighted for glycopeptide analysis, and lastly an esterification method applied to glycopeptides is discussed for retention of sialic acid residues on peptide acidic glycoforms.
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Emy Komatsu, Marjorie Buist, Rini Roy, Andrey Gomes de Oliveira, Edward Bodnar, et al.. Characterization of immunoglobulins through analysis of N-glycopeptides by MALDI-TOF MS. Methods, Elsevier, 2016, 104, pp.170-181. ⟨10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.01.005⟩. ⟨inserm-02153167⟩

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