Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)

Incorporation of unnatural sugars for the identification of glycoproteins.

PMID 23296524


Glycosylation is an abundant post-translational modification that alters the fate and function of its substrate proteins. To aid in understanding the significance of protein glycosylation, identification of target proteins is key. As with all proteomics experiments, mass spectrometry has been established as the desired method for substrate identification. However, these approaches require selective enrichment and purification of modified proteins. Chemical reporters in combination with bioorthogonal reactions have emerged as robust tools for identifying post-translational modifications including glycosylation. We provide here a method for the use of bioorthogonal chemical reporters for isolation and identification of glycosylated proteins. More specifically, this protocol is a representative procedure from our own work using an alkyne-bearing O-GlcNAc chemical reporter (GlcNAlk) and a chemically cleavable azido-azo-biotin probe for the identification of O-GlcNAc-modified proteins.