Characterizing M-protein light chain glycosylation via mass spectrometry

Ira D. Miller, Mindy C. Kohlhagen, Paula M. Ladwig, Surendra Dasari, Shaji Kumar, Angela Dispenzieri, Maria Alice V. Willrich, David L. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) patients with M-proteins containing n-glycosylated light chains (GLC) have an increased risk for progression to symptomatic plasma cell disorders (PCD). Large-scale research involving the determination of glycan specific moieties is understudied due to the lack of clinically viable methods. This report documents a proof-of-concept glycan characterization method for patients with M-protein GLCs. Design and methods: Twenty-three previously characterized MGUS patients with glycosylated light chains identified by MASS-FIX were used for this study. Glycosylated light chains were enriched from patient serum using light chain (LC) specific Sepharose nanobody beads (NB), followed by glycan digestion via PNGase F. Glycan moieties were derivatized on-target using Girard's reagent T for MALDI-TOF analysis and confirmed with top-down GLC LC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS analysis. Results: Intact GLC LC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS and cleaved glycan MALDI-TOF MS analysis had 100% agreement for the top three intensity glycans between spectra and 88 percent agreement for all reported glycan moieties. GLC moieties among patients were similar with fucosylation being the only notable difference. Additionally, doubly glycosylated light chains were observed in two patients. Conclusions: The MALDI-TOF method provides the tools to characterize and evaluate GLCs in a clinical setting as it is adaptable to our clinical MASS-Fix assay, relatively cheap, and accurate in glycan moiety assignments as confirmed by top-down GLC LC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Biochemistry
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • Glycosylation
  • Light chain amyloidosis
  • Light chains
  • MGUS
  • Multiple myeloma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing M-protein light chain glycosylation via mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this