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Comparative analysis of transferrin and IgG N-glycosylation in two human populations

Human plasma transferrin (Tf) N-glycosylation has been mostly studied as a marker for congenital disorders of glycosylation, alcohol abuse, and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, inter-individual variability of Tf N-glycosylation is not known, mainly due to technical limitations of Tf isolation in large-scale studies. Here, we present a highly specific robust high-throughput approach for Tf purification from human blood plasma and detailed characterization of Tf N-glycosylation on the level of released glycans by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography based on hydrophilic interactions and fluorescence detection (HILIC-UHPLC-FLD), exoglycosidase sequencing, and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS).