Glycopeptide enrichment is a prerequisite to enable structural characterization of protein glycosylation in glycoproteomics. Here we present an improved method for glycopeptide enrichment based on zwitter-ionic hydrophilic interaction chromatography solid phase extraction (ZIC-HILIC SPE) in a microcolumn format. The method involves TFA ion pairing (IP) to increase the hydrophilicity difference between glycopeptides and nonglycosylated peptides. Three mobile phases were investigated, i.e., 2% formic acid (defined as IP 2% FA ZIC-HILIC SPE), 0.1% TFA and 1% TFA (defined as IP 0.1% TFA and IP1% TFA ZIC-HILIC SPE) all containing 80% acetonitrile. Samples of increasing complexities, i.e., digests of single glycoproteins, a five-glycoprotein mixture, and depleted plasma, were used in the study. The presence of TFA in the mobile phase significantly improved the glycopeptide enrichment for all complexities, as evaluated by enhanced glycopeptide detection using MALDI-TOF MS and RP-LC-ESI-MS/MS, e.g., the glycopeptide ion signals were increased by up to 3.7-fold compared to IP 2% FA conditions. The enhanced glycopeptide detection was promoted by a substantial depletion of nonglycosylated peptides, offering an almost complete isolation of IgG glycopeptides using a single SPE enrichment step and a reduction from 711 nonglycosylated peptides observed in the IP2% FA ZIC-HILIC SPE retained plasma fraction, to only 157 and 97 when 0.1% and 1% TFA was used in the mobile phase. In conclusion, this systematic study has shown that TFA-containing mobile phases increase glycopeptide enrichment efficiency considerably for a broad range of sample complexities when using ZIC-HILIC SPE.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry