Structural determination of glycosphingolipids as lithiated adducts by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry using low-energy collisional-activated dissociation on a triple stage quadrupole instrument

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Abstract

Structural characterization of glycosphingolipids as their lithiated adducts using low-energy collisional-activated dissociation (CAD) tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization (ESI) is described. The tandem mass spectra contain abundant fragment ions reflecting the long chain base (LCB), fatty acid, and the sugar constituent of the molecule and permit unequivocal identification of cerebrosides, di-, trihexosyl ceramides and globosides. The major fragmentation pathways arise from loss of the sugar moiety to yield a lithiated ceramide ion, which undergoes further fragmentation to form multiple fragment ions that confirm the structures of the fatty acid and LCB. The mechanisms for the ion formation and the possible configuration of the fragment ions, resulting from CAD of the lithiated molecular ions ([M + Li]+) of monoglycosylceramides are proposed. The mechanisms were supported by CAD and source CAD tandem mass spectra of various cerebrosides and of their analogous molecules prepared by H-D exchange. Constant neutral loss and precursor ion scannings to identify galactosylceramides with sphingosine or sphinganine LCB subclasses, and with specific N-2-hydroxyl fatty acid subclass in mixtures are also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001

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