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We describe an analytical method for the identification, mapping and relative quantitation of glycopeptides from SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The method may be executed using a LC-TOF mass spectrometer, requires no specialized knowledge of glycan analysis and exploits the differential resolving power of reverse phase HPLC. While this separation technique resolves peptides with high efficiency, glycans are resolved poorly, if at all. Consequently, glycopeptides consisting of the same peptide bearing different glycan structures will all possess very similar retention times and co-elute. Rather than a disadvantage, we show that shared retention time can be used to map multiple glycan species to the same peptide and location. In combination with MSMS and pseudo MS3, we have constructed a detailed mass-retention time database for Spike glycopeptides. This database allows any accurate mass LC-MS laboratory to reliably identify and quantify Spike glycopeptides from a single overnight elastase digest in less than 90 minutes.

Original publication




Journal article


Communications biology

Publication Date





Centre for Medicines Discovery, ORCRB, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.