FAQ: Could exoglycosidases change the migration of my protein?

Typically, changes in protein gel migration are observed using endoglycosidases. However, if the protein is relatively small and carries several glycan molecules per peptide chain, it is possible that trimming terminal sugars will result in enough mass loss to be easily detected by a molecular weight shift. Specifically, dramatic changes could be observed when a protein is treated with neuraminidase (sialidase), since sialic acids are large negatively charged sugars. In fact the overall properties of a protein treated with neuraminidase could be significantly different from the original.