Underivatized and permethylated gangliosides have been studied by the matrix-assisted laser desorption (MALO) ionization technique. The samples investigated included commercially available and highly purified gangliosides from the human brain containing up to five sialic acid residues. Several permethylated gangliosides have also been studied, and MALD has proven successful in analyzing multicomponent mixtures of glycolipids with different fatty acyl residues. During the studies a variety of matrix and wavelength combinations have been tested in both the positive and negative ion modes. The best results have been obtained with the matrices 2,5-dihyd roxybenzoic acid, 4-hydrazinobenzoic acid, 1,5-diaminonaphthalene, and 6-aza-2-thiothymine. Negative ion mass spectra of the underivatized gangliosides have always been of better quality than the positive ion mass spectra; exhibiting better signal-to-noise ratio, better resolution, less fragmentation, and less adduct formation with Na+ and K+. With increasing number of sialic acid substituents the molecular ion region became less and less resolvable leading to broadened peaks even in the negative ion mode. Fragmentation could frequently be observed in the negative ion mode, and it was pronounced in the positive ion mode. The major fragmentation pathways corresponded to loss of sialyl groupts) and to decarboxylation of one of the sialyl residues. For underivatized gangliosides the typical sample amount used was 10-20 pmol, Permethylation led to a significant improvement in sensitivity (two orders of magnitude); the detection limit of permethylated gangliosides was about 10 fmol. The higher stability of the permethylated compounds was indicated by the fact that positive ion mass spectra exhibited only a marginal extent of fragmentation. © 1992 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
Juhasz, P., & Costello, C. E. (1992). Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry of underivatized and permethylated gangliosides. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 3(8), 785–796. https://doi.org/10.1016/1044-0305(92)80001-2