Rationale: Negative ion collision-induced dissociation (CID) spectra of released N-glycans provide very informative structural information relating to branching patterns and location of residues such as fucose. For some structural studies, particularly those involving chromatography, glycans are often reduced to avoid production of multiple peaks from α- and β-anomers. We examined the effect of reduction on the production of diagnostic fragment ions and on the ion mobility properties of N-glycans. Methods: Released N-glycans from the glycoproteins bovine fetuin, ribonuclease B, chicken ovalbumin, and porcine thyroglobulin were reduced with sodium cyanoborohydride and both negative ion CID spectra and ion mobility properties of their phosphate adducts were examined with a Waters Synapt G2Si travelling-wave ion mobility mass spectrometer with electrospray sample introduction. Estimated collisional cross sections were measured with dextran as the calibrant. Results: Fragment ions were similar to those from the unreduced glycans with the exception that the prominent ², ⁴A cleavage ion from the reducing terminus was replaced by a prominent [M-H₃PO₄]⁻ ion. Other ions arising from the chitobiose core were of lower relative abundance than those from the unreduced glycans. Estimated collisional cross sections were similar to those of the unreduced compounds but with symmetrical arrival time distribution (ATD) profiles, unlike those of the unreduced glycans whose peaks often contained prominent asymmetry. This observation showed that this asymmetry was due to anomer separation. Conclusions: Reduction of the reducing terminal GlcNAc residue resulted in fewer diagnostic ions from the chitobiose core but fragmentation of the remainder of the molecules generally paralleled that of the unreduced glycans. Thus, most structural information, with the exception of the linkage position of fucose on the core GlcNAc, was available. ATD peaks were symmetrical with the result that cross sections were more appropriate for data-base searching than those from the non-reduced compounds where asymmetry produced lower precision in the measurement.
Harvey, D. J., & Abrahams, J. L. (2016). Fragmentation and ion mobility properties of negative ions from N-linked carbohydrates: part 7. reduced glycans. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 30(5), 627-634. https://doi.org/10.1002/rcm.7467