Mapping and Sequencing of Oligosaccharides by Electrophoresis

R. J. Linhardt, J. Liu, X. J. Han

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11 Scopus citations


The analysis of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides takes on increased importance with the discovery of each new biological activity attributable to this important class of biopolymers. Our understanding of other biopolymers, proteins and nucleic acids, has relied heavily on electrophoresis. This minireview describes the application of capillary electrophoresis and gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to saccharide compositional analysis, oligosaccharide mapping and oligosaccharide and polysaccharide sequencing. These approaches are applicable to both acidic polysaccharides (i.e., glycosaminoglycans) and neutral, glycoprotein-derived oligosaccharides. Separation by electrophoresis can be driven by the inherent charge of a carbohydrate, through the complexation of a carbohydrate with a charged molecule, or through derivatization reactions to prepare charged carbohydrate conjugates. New approaches including fluorescence labeling provide the high detection sensitivity required for microanalysis. The high resolution necessary for oligosaccharide analysis can be achieved using capillary electrophoresis or two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Preparative gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis can also be used to obtain pure oligosaccharides for structural studies. Future prospects for the complete sequence analysis of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides by electrophoresis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Glycoscience and Glycotechnology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • capillary electrophoresis
  • electrophoresis
  • fluorescent label
  • oligosaccharide mapping
  • oligosaccharide sequencing


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