Electron-Induced Dissociation of Glycosaminoglycan Tetrasaccharides

Jeremy J. Wolff, Tatiana N. Laremore, Hammad Aslam, Robert J. Linhardt, I. Jonathan Amster

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93 Scopus citations


Electron detachment dissociation (EDD) Fourier transform mass spectrometry has recently been shown to be a powerful tool for examining the structural features of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The characteristics of GAG fragmentation by EDD include abundant cross-ring fragmentation primarily on hexuronic acid residues, cleavage of all glycosidic bonds, and the formation of even- and odd-electron product ions. GAG dissociation by EDD has been proposed to occur through the formation of an excited species that can undergo direct decomposition or ejects an electron and then undergoes dissociation. In this work, we perform electron-induced dissociation (EID) on singly charged GAGs to identify products that form via direct decomposition by eliminating the pathway of electron detachment. EID of GAG tetrasaccharides produces cleavage of all glycosidic bonds and abundant cross-ring fragmentation primarily on hexuronic acid residues, producing fragmentation similar to EDD of the same molecules, but distinctly different from the products of infrared multiphoton dissociation or collisionally activated decomposition. These results suggest that observed abundant fragmentation of hexuronic acid residues occurs as a result of their increased lability when they undergo electronic excitation. EID fragmentation of GAG tetrasaccharides results in both even- and odd-electron products. EID of heparan sulfate tetrasaccharide epimers produces identical fragmentation, in contrast to EDD, in which the epimers can be distinguished by their fragment ions. These data suggest that for EDD, electron detachment plays a significant role in distinguishing glucuronic acid from iduronic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1458
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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