High-sensitivity glycan profiling providing detailed structural information is very important in the search for glycan disease markers. By combining a straight-forward and fast preparation protocol of mucins with high-throughput nanoLC/MS, we have been able to study the O-glycosylation of the colon MUC2 mucin from one single biopsy (approximately 5 mg wet tissue as starting material) collected from the sigmoid colon during routine colonoscopy of 25 normal control patients. This large mucin glycoprotein was recovered from the guanidinium chloride-extracted insoluble pellet, reduced and alkylated, separated by SDS-agarose polyacrylamide composite gel electrophoresis, and transferred to a PVDF membrane. The O-linked oligosaccharides of the major MUC2 monomer band were released by reductive beta-elimination and analyzed by nanoLC/mass spectrometry and MS(n). The aim was to identify the MUC2 O-glycans of the sigmoid colon and provide a comprehensive catalog of the O-glycan repertoire. More than 100 complex O-linked oligosaccharides were identified, of which some had not been described before. Most of the oligosaccharides were based on the core 3 structure with sialic acid at the 6-position of the GalNAc and the substructure Gal beta 1-3/4-GlcNAc beta 1-3(NeuAc-6)GalNAcol was found in most glycans. The most abundant components were -Gal-(Fuc)GlcNAc-3(NeuAc-6)GalNAcol, GalNAc-(NeuAc-)Gal-4/3GlcNAc-3(NeuAc-6)GalNAcol, GalNAc-3(NeuAc-6) GalNAcol, and GlcNAc-3(NeuAc-6)GalNAcol. In contrast to the O-glycans of other mucins, the sigmoid MUC2 O-glycan repertoire and relative amounts in normal individuals were relatively constant.
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