A common renal disease, immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy (IgAN), is associated with glomerular deposition of IgA1-containing immune complexes. IgA1 hinge region (HR) has up to six clustered O-glycans consisting of Ser/Thr-linked N-acetylgalactosamine with β1,3-linked galactose and variable sialylation. IgA1 glycoforms with some galactose-deficient (Gd) HR O-glycans play a key role in IgAN pathogenesis. The clustered and variable O-glycans make the IgA1 glycomic analysis challenging and better approaches are needed. Here, we report a comprehensive analytical workflow for IgA1 HR O-glycoform analysis. We combined an automated quantitative analysis of the HR O-glycopeptide profiles with sequential deglycosylation to remove all but Gd O-glycans from the HR. The workflow was tested using serum IgA1 from healthy subjects. Twelve variants of glycopeptides corresponding to the HR with three to six O-glycans were detected; nine glycopeptides carried up to three Gd O-glycans. Sites with Gd O-glycans were unambiguously identified by electron-transfer/higher-energy collision dissociation tandem mass spectrometry. Extracted ion chromatograms of isomeric glycoforms enabled quantitative assignment of Gd sites. The most frequent Gd site was T236, followed by S230, T233, T228, and S232. The new workflow for quantitative profiling of IgA1 HR O-glycoforms with site-specific resolution will enable identification of pathogenic IgA1 HR O-glycoforms in IgAN.
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