High-Throughput Analysis and Automation for Glycomics Studies

A. Shubhakar, K.R. Reiding, R.A. Gardner, D.I.R. Spencer, D.L. Fernandes, M. Wuhrer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This review covers advances in analytical technologies for high-throughput (HTP) glycomics. Our focus is on structural studies of glycoprotein glycosylation to support biopharmaceutical realization and the discovery of glycan biomarkers for human disease. For biopharmaceuticals, there is increasing use of glycomics in Quality by Design studies to help optimize glycan profiles of drugs with a view to improving their clinical performance. Glycomics is also used in comparability studies to ensure consistency of glycosylation both throughout product development and between biosimilars and innovator drugs. In clinical studies there is as well an expanding interest in the use of glycomics—for example in Genome Wide Association Studies—to follow changes in glycosylation patterns of biological tissues and fluids with the progress of certain diseases. These include cancers, neurodegenerative disorders and inflammatory conditions. Despite rising activity in this field, there are significant challenges in performing large scale glycomics studies. The requirement is accurate identification and quantitation of individual glycan structures. However, glycoconjugate samples are often very complex and heterogeneous and contain many diverse branched glycan structures. In this article we cover HTP sample preparation and derivatization methods, sample purification, robotization, optimized glycan profiling by UHPLC, MS and multiplexed CE, as well as hyphenated techniques and automated data analysis tools. Throughout, we summarize the advantages and challenges with each of these technologies. The issues considered include reliability of the methods for glycan identification and quantitation, sample throughput, labor intensity, and affordability for large sample numbers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-333
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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