Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 24, pp 6255–6264 | Cite as

Capillary zone electrophoresis coupled to drift tube ion mobility-mass spectrometry for the analysis of native and APTS-labeled N-glycans

  • Kevin Jooß
  • Sven W. Meckelmann
  • Julia Klein
  • Oliver J. Schmitz
  • Christian NeusüßEmail author
Paper in Forefront
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Close-Up of Current Developments in Ion Mobility Spectrometry


Capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) based on electrophoretic mobility in the liquid phase and ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) based on mobilities in the gas phase are both powerful techniques for the separation of complex samples. Protein glycosylation is one of the most common post-translational modifications associated with a wide range of biological functions and human diseases. Due to their high structural variability, the analysis of glycans still represents a challenging task. In this work, the first on-line coupling of CZE with drift tube ion mobility-mass spectrometry (DTIM-MS) has been perfomed to further improve separation capabilities for the analysis of native and 8-aminopyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid (APTS)-labeled N-glycans. In this way, a complexity of glycan signals was revealed which could not be resolved by these techniques individually, shown for both native and APTS-labeled glycans. Each individual glycan signal separated in CZE exhibited an unexpectedly high number of peaks observed in the IMS dimension. This observation could potentially be explained by the presence of isomeric forms, including different linkages, and/or gas-phase conformers. In addition, the type of sialic acid attached to glycans has a significant impact on the obtained drift time profile. Furthermore, the application of α2-3 neuraminidase enabled the partial assignment of peaks in the arrival time distribution considering their sialic acid linkages (α2-3/α2-6). This work is a showcase for the high potential of CZE-DTIM-MS, which is expected to find various applications in the future.

Graphical abstract


Glycan analysis CE-IM-MS Isomer separation Liquid- and gas-phase separation 



α-1-Acid glycoprotein


8-Aminopyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid


Arrival time distribution


Background electrolyte


Capillary electrophoresis


Capillary zone electrophoresis


Drift time


Drift tube ion mobility-mass spectrometry


Electrospray ionization


High-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry mass spectrometry


Hydrophilic interaction chromatography


Ion mobility spectrometry


Monoclonal antibody


Mass spectrometry


N-Acetylneuraminic acid


N-Glycolylneuraminic acid


Sialic acid


Sheath liquid


Time-of-flight mass spectrometry


Traveling wave ion mobility-mass spectrometry


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1515_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (697 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 696 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Jooß
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sven W. Meckelmann
    • 3
    • 4
  • Julia Klein
    • 3
    • 4
  • Oliver J. Schmitz
    • 3
    • 4
  • Christian Neusüß
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryAalen UniversityAalenGermany
  2. 2.Research Unit Analytical BioGeoChemistryHelmholtz Zentrum MünchenNeuherbergGermany
  3. 3.Applied Analytical ChemistryUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  4. 4.Teaching and Research Center for SeparationUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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