, Volume 405, Issue 8, pp 2481-2493,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Jan 2013

Reversed-phase liquid-chromatographic mass spectrometric N-glycan analysis of biopharmaceuticals


N-Glycosylation is a common post-translational modification of monoclonal antibodies with a potential effect on the efficacy and safety of the drugs; detailed knowledge about this glycosylation is therefore crucial. We have developed a reversed-phase liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric method, with different fluorescent labels, for analysis of N-glycosylation, and compared the sensitivity and selectivity of the methods. Our work demonstrates that anthranilic acid as fluorescent label in combination with reversed-phase liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry is an advantageous method for identification and quantification of neutral and acidic N-glycans. Our results show that mass spectrometry-based quantification correlates with quantification by fluorescence. Chromatographic discrimination between several structural glycan isomers was achieved. The sharp peaks of the eluting anthranilic acid-labeled N-glycans enabled on-line mass spectrometric analysis of even low-abundance glycan species. The method is broadly applicable to N-glycan analysis and is an orthogonal analytical method to the widely established hydrophilic-interaction liquid chromatography of 2-aminobenzamide-labeled N-glycans for characterization of N-glycans derived from biopharmaceuticals.