Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35049286
Link to DOI – 10.1021/acs.analchem.1c04982
Anal Chem 2022 02; 94(4): 2279-2287
Carbohydrates, in particular microbial glycans, are highly structurally diverse biomolecules, the recognition of which governs numerous biological processes. Of special interest, glycans of known monosaccharide composition feature multiple possible isomers, differentiated by the anomerism and position of their glycosidic linkages. Robust analytical tools able to circumvent this extreme structural complexity are increasing in demand to ensure not only the correct determination of naturally occurring glycans but also to support the rapid development of enzymatic and chemoenzymatic glycan synthesis. In support to the later, we report the use of complementary strategies based on mass spectrometry (MS) to evaluate the ability of 14 engineered mutants of sucrose-utilizing α-transglucosylases to produce type/group-specific Shigella flexneri pentasaccharide bricks from a single lightly protected non-natural tetrasaccharide acceptor substrate. A first analysis of the reaction media by UHPLC coupled to high-accuracy MS led to detect six reaction products of enzymatic glucosylation out of the eight possible ones. A seventh structure was evidenced by an additional step of ion mobility at a resolving power (Rp) of approximately 100. Finally, a Rp of about 250 in ion mobility made it possible to detect the eighth and last of the expected structures. Complementary to these measurements, tandem MS with high activation energy charge transfer dissociation (CTD) allowed us to unambiguously characterize seven regioisomers out of the eight possible products of enzymatic glucosylation. This work illustrates the potential of the recently described powerful IMS and CTD-MS methods for the precise structural characterization of complex glycans.