MOTIVATION: The goal of deciphering the human glycome has been hindered by the lack of high-throughput sequencing methods for glycans. Although mass spectrometry (MS) is a key technology in glycan sequencing, MS alone provides limited information about the identification of monosaccharide constituents, their anomericity and their linkages. These features of individual, purified glycans can be partly identified using well-defined glycan-binding proteins, such as lectins and antibodies that recognize specific determinants within glycan structures.
RESULTS: We present a novel computational approach to automate the sequencing of glycans using metadata-assisted glycan sequencing, which combines MS analyses with glycan structural information from glycan microarray technology. Success in this approach was aided by the generation of a 'virtual glycome' to represent all potential glycan structures that might exist within a metaglycomes based on a set of biosynthetic assumptions using known structural information. We exploited this approach to deduce the structures of soluble glycans within the human milk glycome by matching predicted structures based on experimental data against the virtual glycome. This represents the first meta-glycome to be defined using this method and we provide a publically available web-based application to aid in sequencing milk glycans.
AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: http://glycomeseq.emory.edu
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Human milk glycans (HMGs) are prebiotics, pathogen receptor decoys and regulators of host physiology and immune responses. Mechanistically, human lectins (glycan-binding proteins, hGBP) expressed by dendritic cells (DCs) are of major interest, as these cells directly contact HMGs. To explore such interactions, we screened many C-type lectins and sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglecs) expressed by DCs for glycan binding on microarrays presenting over 200 HMGs. Unexpectedly, DC-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) showed robust binding to many HMGs, whereas other C-type lectins failed to bind, and Siglec-5 and Siglec-9 showed weak binding to a few glycans. By contrast, most hGBP bound to multiple glycans on other microarrays lacking HMGs. An α-linked fucose residue was characteristic of HMGs bound by DC-SIGN. Binding of DC-SIGN to the simple HMGs 2'-fucosyl-lactose (2'-FL) and 3-fucosyl-lactose (3-FL) was confirmed by flow cytometry to beads conjugated with 2'-FL or 3-FL, as well as the ability of the free glycans to inhibit DC-SIGN binding. 2'-FL had an IC50 of ∼1 mM for DC-SIGN, which is within the physiological concentration of 2'-FL in human milk. These results demonstrate that DC-SIGN among the many hGBP expressed by DCs binds to α-fucosylated HMGs, and suggest that such interactions may be important in influencing immune responses in the developing infant.
Infection of mammals by the parasitic helminth Schistosoma mansoni induces antibodies to glycan antigens in worms and eggs, but the differential nature of the immune response among infected mammals is poorly understood. To better define these responses, we used a shotgun glycomics approach in which N-glycans from schistosome egg glycoproteins were prepared, derivatized, separated, and used to generate an egg shotgun glycan microarray. This array was interrogated with sera from infected mice, rhesus monkeys, and humans and with glycan-binding proteins and antibodies to gather information about the structures of antigenic glycans, which also were analyzed by mass spectrometry. A major glycan antigen targeted by IgG from different infected species is the FLDNF epitope [Fucα3GalNAcβ4(Fucα3)GlcNAc-R], which is also recognized by the IgG monoclonal antibody F2D2. The FLDNF antigen is expressed by all life stages of the parasite in mammalian hosts, and F2D2 can kill schistosomula in vitro in a complement-dependent manner. Different antisera also recognized other glycan determinants, including core β-xylose and highly fucosylated glycans. Thus, the natural shotgun glycan microarray of schistosome eggs is useful in identifying antigenic glycans and in developing new anti-glycan reagents that may have diagnostic applications and contribute to developing new vaccines against schistosomiasis.
We present the systematic design, fabrication, and characterization of a multiplexed label-free lab-on-a-chip biosensor using silicon nitride (SiN) microring resonators. Sensor design is addressed through a systematic approach that enables optimizing the sensor according to the specific noise characteristics of the setup. We find that an optimal 6 dB undercoupled resonator consumes 40% less power in our platform to achieve the same limit-of-detection as the conventional designs using critically coupled resonators that have the maximum light-matter interaction. We lay out an optimization framework that enables the generalization of our method for any type of optical resonator and noise characteristics. The device is fabricated using a CMOS-compatible process, and an efficient swabbing lift-off technique is introduced for the deposition of the protective oxide layer. This technique increases the lift-off quality and yield compared to common lift-off methods based on agitation. The complete sensor system, including microfluidic flow cell and surface functionalization with glycan receptors, is tested for the multiplexed detection of Aleuria Aurantia Lectin (AAL) and Sambucus Nigra Lectin (SNA). Further analysis shows that the sensor limit of detection is 2 × 10(-6) RIU for bulk refractive index, 1 pg/mm(2) for surface-adsorbed mass, and ∼ 10 pM for the glycan/lectins studied here.
Glycans have essential roles in biology and the etiology of many diseases. A major hurdle in studying glycans through functional glycomics is the lack of methods to release glycans from diverse types of biological samples. Here we describe an oxidative strategy using household bleach to release all types of free reducing N-glycans and O-glycan-acids from glycoproteins, and glycan nitriles from glycosphingolipids. Released glycans are directly useful in glycomic analyses and can be derivatized fluorescently for functional glycomics. This chemical method overcomes the limitations in glycan generation and promotes archiving and characterization of human and animal glycomes and their functions.
This position statement originated from a working group meeting convened on April 15, 2015, by the NHLBI and incorporates follow-up contributions by the participants as well as other thought leaders subsequently consulted, who together represent research fields relevant to all branches of the NIH. The group was deliberately composed not only of individuals with a current research emphasis in the glycosciences, but also of many experts from other fields, who evinced a strong interest in being involved in the discussions. The original goal was to discuss the value of creating centers of excellence for training the next generation of biomedical investigators in the glycosciences. A broader theme that emerged was the urgent need to bring the glycosciences back into the mainstream of biology by integrating relevant education into the curricula of medical, graduate, and postgraduate training programs, thus generating a critical sustainable workforce that can advance the much-needed translation of glycosciences into a more complete understanding of biology and the enhanced practice of medicine.
Helminths have strong immunoregulatory properties that may be exploited in treatment of chronic immune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Essential players in the pathogenesis of these diseases are proinflammatory macrophages. We present evidence that helminths modulate the function and phenotype of these innate immune cells. We found that soluble products derived from the Trichuris suis (TsSP) significantly affect the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages and their subsequent polarization. TsSPs reduce the expression and production of inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF, in human proinflammatory M1 macrophages. TsSPs induce a concomitant anti-inflammatory M2 signature, with increased IL-10 production. Furthermore, they suppress CHIT activity and enhance secretion of matrix metalloproteinase 9. Short-term triggering of monocytes with TsSPs early during monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation imprinted these phenotypic alterations, suggesting long-lasting epigenetic changes. The TsSP-induced effects in M1 macrophages were completely reversed by inhibiting histone deacetylases, which corresponded with decreased histone acetylation at the TNF and IL6 promoters. These results demonstrate that TsSPs have a potent and sustained immunomodulatory effect on human macrophage differentiation and polarization through epigenetic remodeling and provide new insights into the mechanisms by which helminths modulate human immune responses.-Hoeksema, M. A., Laan, L. C., Postma, J. J., Cummings, R. D., de Winther, M. P. J., Dijkstra, C. D., van Die, I., Kooij, G. Treatment with Trichuris suis soluble products during monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation reduces inflammatory responses through epigenetic remodeling.
Protein O-glycosylation has key roles in many biological processes, but the repertoire of O-glycans synthesized by cells is difficult to determine. Here we describe an approach termed Cellular O-Glycome Reporter/Amplification (CORA), a sensitive method used to amplify and profile mucin-type O-glycans synthesized by living cells. Cells convert added peracetylated benzyl-α-N-acetylgalactosamine to a large variety of modified O-glycan derivatives that are secreted from cells, allowing for easy purification for analysis by HPLC and mass spectrometry (MS). Relative to conventional O-glycan analyses, CORA resulted in an ∼100-1,000-fold increase in sensitivity and identified a more complex repertoire of O-glycans in more than a dozen cell types from Homo sapiens and Mus musculus. Furthermore, when coupled with computational modeling, CORA can be used for predictions about the diversity of the human O-glycome and offers new opportunities to identify novel glycan biomarkers for human diseases.
The biological recognition of human milk glycans (HMGs) is poorly understood. Because HMGs are rich in galactose we explored whether they might interact with human galectins, which bind galactose-containing glycans and are highly expressed in epithelial cells and other cell types. We screened a number of human galectins for their binding to HMGs on a shotgun glycan microarray consisting of 247 HMGs derived from human milk, as well as to a defined HMG microarray. Recombinant human galectins (hGal)-1, -3, -4, -7, -8 and -9 bound selectively to glycans, with each galectin recognizing a relatively unique binding motif; by contrast hGal-2 did not recognize HMGs, but did bind to the human blood group A Type 2 determinants on other microarrays. Unlike other galectins, hGal-7 preferentially bound to glycans expressing a terminal Type 1 (Galβ1-3GlcNAc) sequence, a motif that had eluded detection on non-HMG glycan microarrays. Interactions with HMGs were confirmed in a solution setting by isothermal titration microcalorimetry and hapten inhibition experiments. These results demonstrate that galectins selectively bind to HMGs and suggest the possibility that galectin-HMG interactions may play a role in infant immunity.
Glycans are known as the third major class of biopolymers, next to DNA and proteins. They cover the surfaces of many cells, serving as the 'face' of cells, whereby other biomolecules and viruses interact. The structure of glycans, however, differs greatly from DNA and proteins in that they are branched, as opposed to linear sequences of amino acids or nucleotides. Therefore, the storage of glycan information in databases, let alone their curation, has been a difficult problem. This has caused many duplicated efforts when integration is attempted between different databases, making an international repository for glycan structures, where unique accession numbers are assigned to every identified glycan structure, necessary. As such, an international team of developers and glycobiologists have collaborated to develop this repository, called GlyTouCan and is available at http://glytoucan.org/, to provide a centralized resource for depositing glycan structures, compositions and topologies, and to retrieve accession numbers for each of these registered entries. This will thus enable researchers to reference glycan structures simply by accession number, as opposed to by chemical structure, which has been a burden to integrate glycomics databases in the past.
BACKGROUND: Primary deficiencies in mannosylation of N-glycans are seen in a majority of patients with congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG). We report the discovery of a series of novel N-glycans in sera, plasma, and cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with CDG having deficient mannosylation.
METHOD: We used LC-MS/MS and MALDI-TOF-MS analysis to identify and quantify a novel N-linked tetrasaccharide linked to the protein core, an N-tetrasaccharide (Neu5Acα2,6Galβ1,4-GlcNAcβ1,4GlcNAc) in plasma, serum glycoproteins, and a fibroblast lysate from patients with CDG caused by ALG1 [ALG1 (asparagine-linked glycosylation protein 1), chitobiosyldiphosphodolichol β-mannosyltransferase], PMM2 (phosphomannomutase 2), and MPI (mannose phosphate isomerase).
RESULTS: Glycoproteins in sera, plasma, or cell lysate from ALG1-CDG, PMM2-CDG, and MPI-CDG patients had substantially more N-tetrasaccharide than unaffected controls. We observed a >80% decline in relative concentrations of the N-tetrasaccharide in MPI-CDG plasma after mannose therapy in 1 patient and in ALG1-CDG fibroblasts in vitro supplemented with mannose.
CONCLUSIONS: This novel N-tetrasaccharide could serve as a diagnostic marker of ALG1-, PMM2-, or MPI-CDG for screening of these 3 common CDG subtypes that comprise >70% of CDG type I patients. Its quantification by LC-MS/MS may be useful for monitoring therapeutic efficacy of mannose. The discovery of these small N-glycans also indicates the presence of an alternative pathway in N-glycosylation not recognized previously, but its biological significance remains to be studied.
Genetic evidence suggests that the Schistosoma mansoni genome contains six genes that encode α1,3-fucosyltransferases (smFuTs). To date, the activities and specificities of these putative fucosyltransferases are unknown. As Schistosoma express a variety of fucosylated glycans, including the Lewis X antigen Galβ1-4(Fucα1-3)GlcNAcβ-R, it is likely that this family of genes encode enzymes that are partly responsible for the generation of those structures. Here, we report the molecular cloning of fucosyltransferase-F (smFuT-F) from S. mansoni, as a soluble, green fluorescent protein fusion protein and its acceptor specificity. The gene smFuT-F was expressed in HEK freestyle cells, purified by affinity chromatography, and analyzed toward a broad panel of glycan acceptors. The enzyme product of smFuT-F effectively utilizes a type II chain acceptor Galβ1-4GlcNAc-R, but notably not the LDN sequence GalNAcβ1-4GlcNAc-R, to generate Lewis X type-glycans, and smFuT-F transcripts are present in all intramammalian life stages.
The acquisition of mannose 6-phosphate (Man6P) on N-linked glycans of lysosomal enzymes is a structural requirement for their transport from the Golgi apparatus to lysosomes mediated by the mannose 6-phosphate receptors, 300 kDa cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor (MPR300) and 46 kDa cation-dependent mannose 6-phosphate receptor (MPR46). Here we report that the single-chain variable domain (scFv) M6P-1 is a unique antibody fragment with specificity for Man6P monosaccharide that, through an array-screening approach against a number of phosphorylated N-glycans, is shown to bind mono- and diphosphorylated Man6 and Man7 glycans that contain terminal αMan6P(1 → 2)αMan(1 → 3)αMan. In contrast to MPR300, scFv M6P-1 does not bind phosphodiesters, monophosphorylated Man8 or mono- or diphosphorylated Man9 structures. Single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis to 2.7 Å resolution of Fv M6P-1 in complex with Man6P reveals that specificity and affinity is achieved via multiple hydrogen bonds to the mannose ring and two salt bridges to the phosphate moiety. In common with both MPRs, loss of binding was observed for scFv M6P-1 at pH values below the second pKa of Man6P (pKa = 6.1). The structures of Fv M6P-1 and the MPRs suggest that the change of the ionization state of Man6P is the main driving force for the loss of binding at acidic lysosomal pH (e.g. lysosome pH ∼ 4.6), which provides justification for the evolution of a lysosomal enzyme transport pathway based on Man6P recognition.
Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) are innate immune cells whose principal function is to migrate from the blood to sites of inflammation, where they exert crucial anti-infectious and immunomodulatory effects. However, dysregulated migration of PMNs into mucosal epithelial tissues is characteristic of chronic inflammatory disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease. Carbohydrate-mediated binding interactions between PMN Lewis glycans and endothelial glycan-binding proteins are critical for initial migration of PMN out of the vasculature. However, the role of Lewis glycans during transepithelial migration (TEM) has not been well characterized. Herein, we show that antibody blockade of Lewis X (Le(x)) displayed as terminal glycan residues on the PMN surface blocks chemotaxis and TEM while enhancing PMN-adhesive interactions with intestinal epithelia. Unexpectedly, targeting of subterminal Le(x) residues within glycan chains had no effect on PMN migration or adhesive interactions. There was increased surface expression of Le(x) on PMN after TEM, and blockade of terminal Le(x) regulated post-migratory PMN functions, increasing PMN phagocytosis and the surface mobilization of azurophilic (CD63, myeloperoxidase, and neutrophil elastase) and specific (CD66b and lactoferrin) granule markers. These findings suggest that terminal Le(x) represents a potential target for regulating PMN trafficking and function in inflamed mucosa. Furthermore, given its abundant expression on migrating PMN, Le(x) may be a rational target for modulating inflammation in diseases where dysregulated PMN influx is associated with host tissue damage.
Galectins are an evolutionarily ancient family of glycan-binding proteins (GBPs) and are found in all animals. Although they were discovered over 30 years ago, ideas about their biological functions continue to evolve. Current evidence indicates that galectins, which are the only known GBPs that occur free in the cytoplasm and extracellularly, are involved in a variety of intracellular and extracellular pathways contributing to homeostasis, cellular turnover, cell adhesion, and immunity. Here we review evolving insights into galectin biology from a historical perspective and explore current evidence regarding biological roles of galectins.
Galectins can display unique sensitivity to oxidative changes that result in significant conformational alterations that prevent carbohydrate recognition. While a variety of approaches can be utilized to prevent galectin oxidation, several of these require inclusion of reducing agents that not only prevent galectins from undergoing oxidative inactivation, but can also interfere with normal redox potentials required for fundamental cellular processes. To overcome limitations associated with placing cells in an artificial reducing environment, cysteine residues on galectins can be directly alkylated with iodoacetamide to form a stable thioether adduct that is resistant to further modification. Iodoacetamide alkylated galectin remains stable over prolonged periods of time and retains the carbohydrate binding and biological activities of the native protein. As a result, this approach allows examination of the biological roles of a stabilized form of galectin-1 without introducing the confounding variables that can occur when typical soluble reducing agents are employed.
Cellular turnover represents a fundamental aspect of immunological homeostasis. While many factors appear to regulate leukocyte removal during inflammatory resolution, recent studies suggest that members of the galectin family play a unique role in orchestrating this process. Unlike cellular removal through apoptotic cell death, several members of the galectin family induce surface expression of phosphatidylserine (PS), a phagocytic marker on cells undergoing apoptosis, in the absence of cell death. However, similar to PS on cells undergoing apoptosis, galectin-induced PS exposure sensitizes cells to phagocytic removal. As galectins appear to prepare cells for phagocytic removal without actually inducing apoptotic cell death, this process has recently been coined preaparesis. Given the unique characteristics of galectin-induced PS exposure in the context of preaparesis, we will examine important considerations when evaluating the potential impact of different galectin family members on PS exposure and cell viability.
Over a century ago, Karl Landsteiner discovered that blood group antigens could predict the immunological outcome of red blood cell transfusion. While the discovery of ABO(H) blood group antigens revolutionized transfusion medicine, many questions remain regarding the development and regulation of naturally occurring anti-blood group antibody formation. Early studies suggested that blood group antibodies develop following stimulation by bacteria that express blood group antigens. While this may explain the development of anti-blood group antibodies in blood group negative individuals, how blood group positive individuals, who cannot generate anti-blood group antibodies, protect themselves against blood group positive microbes remained unknown. Recent studies suggest that several members of the galectin family specifically target blood group positive microbes, thereby providing innate immune protection against blood group antigen positive microbes regardless of the blood group status of an individual. Importantly, subsequent studies suggest that this unique form of immunity may not be limited to blood group expressing microbes, but may reflect a more generalized form of innate immunity against molecular mimicry. As this form of antimicrobial activity represents a unique and unprecedented form of immunity, we will examine important considerations and methodological approaches that can be used when seeking to ascertain the potential antimicrobial activity of various members of the galectin family.
We have utilized simple flow cytometric and fluorescence-based solid phase assays to study the interaction of glycan-binding proteins (GBP) to cell surface glycoconjugates. These methods utilize commonly employed flow cytometry techniques and commercially available streptavidin-coated microplates to immobilize various biotinylated ligands, such as glycopeptides, oligosaccharides, and whole cells. Using this approach, fluorescently labeled GBPs, in particular, members of the galectin family, can be interrogated for potential interactions with cell surface carbohydrates, including elucidation of the potential impact of alterations in glycosylation on carbohydrate recognition. Using these approaches, we present examples of flow cytometric and fluorescence-based solid phase assays to study galectin-carbohydrate interactions.
Glycan binding proteins (GBPs) possess the unique ability to regulate a wide variety of biological processes through interactions with highly modifiable cell surface glycans. While many studies demonstrate the impact of glycan modification on GBP recognition and activity, the relative contribution of subtle changes in glycan structure on GBP binding can be difficult to define. To overcome limitations in the analysis of GBP-glycan interactions, recent studies utilized glycan microarray platforms containing hundreds of structurally defined glycans. These studies not only provided important information regarding GBP-glycan interactions, but have also resulted in significant insight into the binding specificity and biological activity of the galectin family. We will describe the methods used when employing glycan microarray platforms to examine galectin-glycan binding specificity and function.