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NIST contributes to the field of glycomics through development of precision measurements, glycan reference materials and reference data.

The field of glycomics defines the structures and functions of glycans, or sugars, in biological systems. Glycans perform many functions in cells and cell systems, from helping cells recognize invaders, to guiding cell growth, to enabling the folding of protein structures that affect health.

In support of the biomanufacturing and protein therapeutics communities, NIST research underpins the characterization of glycans in three focus areas: 1) development of glycan reference materials, 2) development of mass spectral glycan reference data libraries, and 3) administration of glycan measurement interlaboratory comparison studies.

key accomplishments

Glycan reference standards

A glycan-based Standard Reference Material (SRM 3655) is being developed to support the biomanufacturing and protein therapeutics communities.  The SRM will consist of a set of 13 individually-bottled, pure glycoforms including those most commonly observed as N-linked glycans on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.  This quantitative glycan material will enable accurate, SI-traceable quantification of antibody glycosylation, and can be used to assess quantity, identity, or stability between labs, between production lots, or over time.

Mass spectral glycan reference data

The NIST Mass Spectral Reference Libraries are continuously increasing the number of glycan and oligosaccharide reference spectra included. Recent additions include glycan from NISTmAb, NIST Human Milk SRM 1953 and oligosaccharides from a variety of mammals, including samples shared with NIST from the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

NIST Mass Spectrometry Data Center products relevant to glycomics include:

Interlaboratory measurement comparison studies

NIST coordinated an interlaboratory study for laboratories that measure glycosylation in monoclonal antibodies. A published report describes the design of and results for the NIST Interlaboratory Study on the Glycosylation of NISTmAb, a Monoclonal Antibody Reference Material from 103 reports submitted by 76 laboratories.

News and Updates

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It has been called the world’s most perfect food, and there’s unequivocal evidence that it can fight off disease and build better baby brains. But even after

Projects and Programs

Glycan Standard Reference Materials

A glycan-based Standard Reference Material (SRM 3655) is being developed at NIST to support the biomanufacturing and protein therapeutics communities. The SRM


Increasing the Coverage of a Mass Spectral Library of Milk Oligosaccharides Using a Hybrid- Search-Based Bootstrapping Method and Milks from a Wide Variety of Mammals

Concepcion A. Remoroza, Tytus D. Mak, Yuri A. Mirokhin, Sergey L. Sheetlin, Xiaoyu Yang, Stephen E. Stein, Power L. Michael, San Andres V. Joice, Yuxue Liang
This study significantly expands both the scope and method of identification for construction of a previously reported tandem mass spectral library of 74 human