Human glycoproteins exhibit enormous heterogeneity at each N-glycosite, but few studies have attempted to globally characterize the site-specific structural features. We have developed Integrated GlycoProteome Analyzer (I-GPA) including mapping system for complex N-glycoproteomes, which combines methods for tandem mass spectrometry with a database search and algorithmic suite. Using an N-glycopeptide database that we constructed, we created novel scoring algorithms with decoy glycopeptides, where 95 N-glycopeptides from standard α1-acid glycoprotein were identified with 0% false positives, giving the same results as manual validation. Additionally automated label-free quantitation method was first developed that utilizes the combined intensity of top three isotope peaks at three highest MS spectral points. The efficiency of I-GPA was demonstrated by automatically identifying 619 site-specific N-glycopeptides with FDR ≤ 1%, and simultaneously quantifying 598 N-glycopeptides, from human plasma samples that are known to contain highly glycosylated proteins. Thus, I-GPA platform could make a major breakthrough in high-throughput mapping of complex N-glycoproteomes, which can be applied to biomarker discovery and ongoing global human proteome project.
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