Hua, S., et al. (2014). “Differentiation of Cancer Cell Origin and Molecular Subtype by Plasma Membrane N-Glycan Profiling..” J Proteome Res.
In clinical settings, biopsies are routinely used to determine cancer type and grade based on tumor cell morphology, as determined via histochemical or immunohistochemical staining. Unfortunately, in a significant number of cases, traditional biopsy results are either inconclusive or do not provide full subtype differentiation, possibly leading to inefficient or ineffective treatment. Glycomic profiling of the cell membrane offers an alternate route toward cancer diagnosis. In this study, isomer-sensitive nano-LC/MS was used to directly obtain detailed profiles of the different N-glycan structures present on cancer cell membranes. Membrane N-glycans were extracted from cells representing various subtypes of breast, lung, cervical, ovarian, and lymphatic cancer. Chip-based porous graphitized carbon nano-LC/MS was used to separate, identify, and quantify the native N-glycans. Structure-sensitive N-glycan profiling identified hundreds of glycan peaks per cell line, including multiple isomers for most compositions. Hierarchical clusterings based on Pearson correlation coefficients were used to quickly compare and separate each cell line according to originating organ and disease subtype. Based simply on the relative abundances of broad glycan classes (e.g., high mannose, complex/hybrid fucosylated, complex/hybrid sialylated, etc.), most cell lines were readily differentiated. More closely related cell lines were differentiated based on several-fold differences in the abundances of individual glycans. Based on characteristic N-glycan profiles, primary cancer origins and molecular subtypes could be distinguished. These results demonstrate that stark differences in cancer cell membrane glycosylation can be exploited to create an MS-based biopsy, with potential applications toward cancer diagnosis and direction of treatment.

Huang, J., et al. (2014). “Glycomic Analysis of High Density Lipoprotein Shows a Highly Sialylated Particle.” J Proteome Res.
Many of the functional proteins and lipids in HDL particles are potentially glycosylated yet very little is known about the glycoconjugates of HDL. In this study, HDL was isolated from plasma by sequential micro-ultracentrifugation, followed by glycoprotein and glycolipid analysis. N-glycans, glycopeptides, and gangliosides were extracted and purified followed by analysis with nano-HPLC-Chip Q-TOF MS and MS/MS. HDL particles were found to be highly sialylated. Most of the N-glycans (~90%) from HDL glycoproteins were sialylated with one or two neuraminic acids (Neu5Ac). The most abundant N-glycan was a biantennary complex type glycan with two sialic acids (Hexose5HexNAc4Neu5Ac2), and was found in multiple glycoproteins using site-specific glycosylation analysis. The observed O-glycans were all sialylated and most contained a core 1 structure with two Neu5Acs, including those that were associated with apolipoprotein CIII (ApoC-III) and fetuin A. GM3 (monosialoganglioside, NeuAc2-3Gal1-4Glc-Cer) and GD3 (disialoganglioside, NeuAc2-8NeuAc2-3Gal1-4Glc-Cer) were the major gangliosides in HDL. A 60% GM3 and 40% GD3 distribution was observed. Both GM3 and GD3 were composed of heterogeneous ceramide lipid tails, including d18:1/16:0 and d18:1/23:0. This report describes for the first time a glycomic approach for analyzing HDL, highlighting that HDL are highly sialylated particles.

Kailemia, M. J., et al. (2014). “Oligosaccharide Analysis by Mass Spectrometry- A Review of Recent Developments.” Anal Chem 86(1): 196-212.