Two-Dimensional MoS2‑Based Zwitterionic Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid Chromatography Material for the Specific Enrichment of Glycopeptides

Mass spectrometry (MS)-based glycoproteomics research requires highly efficient sample preparation to eliminate interference from non-glycopeptides and to improve the efficiency of glycopeptide detection. In this work, a novel MoS2/Au-NP (gold nanoparticle)–L-cysteine nanocomposite was prepared for glycopeptide enrichment. The two-dimensional (2D) structured MoS2 nanosheets served as a matrix that could provide a large surface area for immobilizing hydrophilic groups (such as L-cysteine) with low steric hindrance between the materials and the glycopeptides. As a result, the novel nanomaterial possessed an excellent ability to capture glycopeptides. Compared to commercial zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (ZIC-HILIC) materials, the novel nanomaterials exhibited excellent enrichment performance with ultrahigh selectivity and sensitivity (approximately 10 fmol), high binding capacity (120 mg g–1), high enrichment recovery (more than 93%), satisfying batch-to-batch reproducibility, and good universality for glycopeptide enrichment. In addition, its outstanding specificity and efficiency for glycopeptide enrichment was confirmed by the detection of glycopeptides from an human serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) tryptic digest in quantities as low as a 1:1250 molar ratio of IgG tryptic digest to bovine serum albumin tryptic digest. The novel nanocomposites were further used for the analysis of complex samples, and 1920 glycopeptide backbones from 775 glycoproteins were identified in three replicate analyses of 50 μg of proteins extracted from HeLa cell exosomes. The resulting highly informative mass spectra indicated that this multifunctional nanomaterial-based enrichment method could be used as a promising tool for the in-depth and comprehensive characterization of glycoproteomes in MS-based glycoproteomics.