Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 7, pp 1467–1477 | Cite as

Development of a UHPLC-MS method for inhibitor screening against α-L-1,3-fucosidase

  • Tangrong Liu
  • Ruonan Liu
  • Li Zhu
  • Xuan Zou
  • Huashi Guan
  • Zhe XuEmail author
Research Paper


α-L-Fucosidase (AFU) is a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of inflammation, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and fucosidosis. Some of the existing analytical methods for the assessment of AFU activity are lacking in sensitivity and selectivity, since most of them are based on spectrofluorimetric methods. More recently, mass spectrometry (MS) has evolved as a key technology for enzyme assays and inhibitor screening as it enables accurate monitoring of the conversion of substrate to product in enzymatic reactions. In this study, UHPLC-MS has been utilized to develop a simple, sensitive, and accurate assay for enzyme kinetics and inhibition studies of AFU3, a member of the AFU family. A reported method for analyzing saccharide involving a porous graphitic carbon column, combined with reduction by NaBH4/CH3OH, was used to improve sensitivity. The conversion of saccharide into alditol could reach nearly 100% in the NaBH4 reduction reaction. In addition, the bioanalytical quantitative screening method was validated according to US-FDA guidance, including selectivity, linearity, precision, accuracy, stability, and matrix effect. The developed method displayed a good accuracy, high sensitivity (LOD = 0.05 mg L−1), and good reproducibility (RSD < 15%). The assay accurately measured an IC50 value of 0.40 μM for the known AFU inhibitor, deoxyfuconojirimycin, which was consistent with results reported in the literature. Further validation of the assay was achieved through the determination of a high Z′-factor value of 0.89. The assay was applied to screen a marine-derived chemical library against AFU3, which revealed two marine-oriented pyrimidine alkaloids as potential AFU3 inhibitors.

Graphical abstract


α-L-1,3-Fucosidase UHPLC-MS Inhibitor screening Method validation 



The authors thank Professor Tao Jiang for providing compounds used in this study.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21505124), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M582144), and the Postdoctoral Applied Research Programs of Qingdao.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2019_1575_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (532 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 532 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tangrong Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ruonan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Li Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xuan Zou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huashi Guan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhe Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Drugs, Chinese Ministry of Education, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Glycoscience and Glycoengineering, School of Medicine and PharmacyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Drugs and Bioproducts, Innovation Center for Marine Drugs Screening and EvaluationQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Marine Biomedical Research Institute of QingdaoQingdaoChina

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