Protein glycosylation, particularly N-linked glycosylation, is a complex posttranslational modification (PTM), which plays an important role in protein folding and conformation, regulating protein stability and activity, cell–cell interaction, and cell signaling pathways. This review focuses on analytical techniques, primarily MS-based techniques, to qualitatively and quantitatively assess N-glycosylation while successfully characterizing compositional, structural, and linkage features with high specificity and sensitivity. The analytical techniques explored in this review include LC–ESI–MS/MS and MALDI time-of-flight MS (MALDI-TOF-MS), which have been used to analyze clinical samples, such as serum, plasma, ascites, and tissue. Targeting the aberrant N-glycosylation patterns observed in MALDI–MS imaging (MSI) offers a platform to visualize N-glycans in tissue-specific regions. The studies on the intra-patient (i.e., a comparison of tissue-specific regions from the same patient) and inter-patient (i.e., a comparison of tissue-specific regions between different patients) variation of early- and late-stage ovarian cancer (OC) patients identify specific N-glycan differences that improve understanding of the tumor microenvironment and potentially improve therapeutic strategies for the clinic.
- mass spectrometry imaging
- ovarian cancer