Recent Advances in Sialic Acid-Focused Glycomics

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Journal of Proteomics


Recent emergences of glycobiology, glycotechnology and glycomics have been clarifying enormous roles of carbohydrates in biological recognition systems. For example, cell surface carbohydrates existing as glycoconjugates (glycolipids, glycoproteins and proteoglycans) play crucial roles in cell-cell communication, cell proliferation and differentiation, tumor metastasis, inflammatory response or viral infection. In particular, sialic acids (SAs) existing as terminal residues in carbohydrate chains on cell surface are involved in signal recognition and adhesion to ligands, antibodies, enzymes and microbes. In addition, plasma free SAs and sialoglycans have shown great potential for disease biomarker discovery. Therefore, the development of efficient analytical methods for structural and functional studies of SAs and sialylglycans are very important and highly demanded. The problems of SAs and sialylglycans analysis are vanishingly small sample amount, complicated and unstable structures, and complex mixtures. Nevertheless, in the past decade, mass spectrometry in combination with chemical derivatization and modern separation methodologies has become a powerful and versatile technique for structural analysis of SAs and sialylglycans. This review summarizes these recent advances in glycomic studies on SAs and sialylglycans. Specially, derivatization and capturing of SAs and sialylglycans combined with mass spectrometry analysis are highlighted.


This work was partially supported by grants from The NationalNatural Science Foundation of China (30700987 and 81171945, H. Nie and Y. Li). This work was also partially supported by grants from the NIH grant (1R01HL102604-03, X.-L. Sun), the Ohio Research Scholar Program grant (X.-L. Sun) and NSF MRI grant (CHE-1126384, X.-L. Sun).