Carbohydrate analysis of glycoproteins A review

K. B. Lee, D. Loganathan, Z. M. Merchant, R. J. Linhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Many of the products prepared by biotechnological approaches, including recombinant genetic engineering, cell tissue culture, and monoclonal technologies, are glycoproteins. As little as five years ago, glycosylation was believed to play no significant role in the function of glycoproteins. Recent large scale testing of glycoprotein-based pharmaceuticals has indicated that both the extent and type of glycosylation can play a central role in glycoprotein activity. Although methods for compositional and sequence analysis of proteins and nucleic acids are generally available, similar methods have yet to be developed for carbohydrate oligomers and polymers. This review focuses on new, developing methods for the analysis and sequencing of the carbohydrate portion of glycoproteins. Included are: (1) the release of oligosaccharides and hydrolysis of carbohydrate chains using enzymatic and chemical methods; (2) fractionation by LPLC, electrophoresis, HPLC, and lectin affinity chromatography; (3) detection through the preparation of derivatives or by new electrochemical methods; (4) analysis by spectroscopic methods, including MS and high-field NMR; and (5) their sequencing through the use of multiple, well-integrated techniques. The ultimate goal of the analytical approaches discussed is to firmly establish structure and, thus, permit the study of structure-function relationships and eventually to allow the intelligent application of carbohydrate remodeling techniques in the preparation of new glycoproteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-80
Number of pages28
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Glycoproteins
  • carbohydrate remodeling techniques
  • glycosylation


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