Water-Soluble Pyrene Tags Enable the Detection of Carbohydrates by Label-Assisted Laser Desorption/ionisation Mass Spectrometry

01 July 2020, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) is widely used for the analysis of biomolecules. Label-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry (LALDI-MS) is a matrix-free variant of MALDI-MS, in which only analytes covalently attached to a laser desorption/ionisation (LDI) enhancer are detected. LALDI-MS has shown promise in overcoming limitations of MALDI-MS in terms of sample preparation and MS analysis. In this work, we have developed water-soluble pyrene-based LDI reagents (LALDI tags) that can be used for (in situ) labelling and LALDI-MS analysis of reducing carbohydrates from complex (biological) samples without the need for additional chemical derivatisation or purification. We have systematically explored the suitability of four pyrene-based LDI enhancers and three aldehyde-reactive handles, optimised sample preparation, and exemplified the use of a LALDI tag by the detection of lactose in cow’s milk. These results demonstrate that LALDI-MS is a promising technique for the analysis of reducing carbohydrates in biological samples, and pave the way for the development of LALDI-MS for glycomics and diagnostics.


mass spectrometry approaches
ionisation enhancer
laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry
bioorthogonal chemistry

Supplementary materials

Hauser et al LALDI tags Supplementary information 23062020 ChemRxiv v1


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