Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Co-Market Agreement Aims to Advance Glycobiology by Dramatically Speeding Glycan Characterisation

Co-Market Agreement Aims to Advance Glycobiology by Dramatically Speeding Glycan Characterisation

Feb 16 2012 Read 1142 Times

Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc and PREMIER Biosoft, recently announced an agreement to co-market PREMIER Biosoft’s SimGlycan® software. The agreement aims to advance glycobiology by dramatically speeding the characterisation of complex glycans through automated interpretation of the rich data produced by Thermo Scientific mass spectrometer systems. Glycans - oligosaccharide or polysaccharide molecules found attached to proteins and lipids in virtually all multicellular organisms - serve essential roles in biological processes as diverse as protein folding, immune function, and energy storage. Because glycans have the potential to serve as markers for disease, and because changes to glycans in a biologically based drug can affect the drug’s function, bioinformatics tools that simplify and expedite structural elucidation of glycans are of intense interest to the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry.

Due to the sensitivity of mass spectrometers and their ability to analyse complex glycan mixtures, mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful tool for glycan structural elucidation. However, MS-based approaches generate large volumes of data that, until the introduction of SimGlycan software, required hours or days of tedious manual interpretation. SimGlycan software automatically matches experimentally acquired mass spectra against a  comprehensive database and generates a list of candidate glycan structures scored to reflect match quality.  Additional, relevant biological information about the proposed glycan structure such as glycan class and biological pathway are made immediately available via interactive links. Unlike other software, SimGlycan can process the multi-stage/sequential mass spectrometry (MSn) data produced by Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers. This unique capability aids in discriminating between glycans that have similar fragment ions at the MS/MS level, and resolves their carbohydrate distribution and branching patterns. Up to six or seven levels of fragmentation are typically needed to differentiate between glycan structural isomers. SimGlycan software is designed for use with Thermo Scientific Orbitrap and ion trap mass spectrometers, including the Thermo Scientific LTQ, LTQ Velos and Velos Pro linear ion trap systems and the LTQ Orbitrap XL, Orbitrap Velos, Orbitrap Velos Pro, Orbitrap Elite and MALDI Orbitrap hybrid systems.

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