Glycan microarrays are surfaces that contain immobilized oligosaccharides or glycoconjugates and have proven useful in probing the interactions between glycan-binding proteins (GBPs) and individual glycans. Such glycan microarrays have been especially important in studying virus-glycan interactions, as most viruses express one or more GBPs important for pathogenesis. For studying interactions of influenza viruses with glycans, we describe protocols for fluorescent labeling of virus, addition of virus to a glycan microarray, analysis of a glycan microarray slide experiment, and interpretation of data.
The interaction of the endoplasmic reticulum molecular chaperone Cosmc with its specific client T-synthase (Core 1 β1-3-galactosyltransferase) is required for folding of the enzyme and eventual movement of the T-synthase to the Golgi, but the mechanism of interaction is unclear. Here we show that the lumenal domain of recombinant Cosmc directly interacts specifically in either free form or covalently bound to solid supports with denatured T-synthase but not with the active dimeric form of the enzyme. This leads to formation of a relatively stable complex of Cosmc and denatured T-synthase accompanied by formation of reactivated enzyme in an ATP-independent fashion that is not regulated by redox, calcium, pH, or intermolecular disulfide bond formation. The partly refolded and active T-synthase remains tightly bound noncovalently to Cosmc. Dissociation of T-synthase from the complex is promoted by further interactions of the complex with free forms of either native or non-native T-synthase. Taken together, these results demonstrate a novel mechanism in which Cosmc cycles to bind non-native T-synthase, leading to enzyme activity and release in a client-driven process.
Assessing interactions of a glycan-binding protein (GBP) or lectin with glycans on a microarray generates large datasets, making it difficult to identify a glycan structural motif or determinant associated with the highest apparent binding strength of the GBP. We have developed a computational method, termed GlycanMotifMiner, that uses the relative binding of a GBP with glycans within a glycan microarray to automatically reveal the glycan structural motifs recognized by a GBP. We implemented the software with a web-based graphical interface for users to explore and visualize the discovered motifs. The utility of GlycanMotifMiner was determined using five plant lectins, SNA, HPA, PNA, Con A, and UEA-I. Data from the analyses of the lectins at different protein concentrations were processed to rank the glycans based on their relative binding strengths. The motifs, defined as glycan substructures that exist in a large number of the bound glycans and few non-bound glycans, were then discovered by our algorithm and displayed in a web-based graphical user interface ( http://glycanmotifminer.emory.edu ). The information is used in defining the glycan-binding specificity of GBPs. The results were compared to the known glycan specificities of these lectins generated by manual methods. A more complex analysis was also carried out using glycan microarray data obtained for a recombinant form of human galectin-8. Results for all of these lectins show that GlycanMotifMiner identified the major motifs known in the literature along with some unexpected novel binding motifs.
The bisecting GlcNAc is transferred to the core mannose residue of complex or hybrid N-glycans on glycoproteins by the β1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III (GlcNAcT-III) or MGAT3. The addition of the bisecting GlcNAc confers unique lectin recognition properties to N-glycans. Thus, LEC10 gain-of-function Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells selected for the acquisition of ricin resistance, carry N-glycans with a bisecting GlcNAc, which enhances the binding of the erythroagglutinin E-PHA, but reduces the binding of ricin and galectins-1, -3 and -8. The altered interaction with galactose-binding lectins suggests that the bisecting GlcNAc affects N-glycan conformation. LEC10 mutants expressing polyoma middle T antigen (PyMT) exhibit reduced growth factor signaling. Furthermore, PyMT-induced mammary tumors lacking MGAT3, progress more rapidly than tumors with the bisecting GlcNAc on N-glycans of cell surface glycoproteins. In recent years, evidence for a new paradigm of cell growth control has emerged involving regulation of cell surface residency of growth factor and cytokine receptors via interactions and cross-linking of their branched N-glycans with a lattice of galectin(s). Specific cross-linking of glycoprotein receptors in the lattice regulates their endocytosis, leading to effects on growth factor-induced signaling. This review will describe evidence that the bisecting GlcNAc of N-glycans regulates cellular signaling and tumor progression, apparently through modulating N-glycan/galectin interactions.
DNA and protein arrays are commonly accepted as powerful exploratory tools in research. This has mainly been achieved by the establishment of proper guidelines for quality control, allowing cross-comparison between different array platforms. As a natural extension, glycan microarrays were subsequently developed, and recent advances using such arrays have greatly enhanced our understanding of protein-glycan recognition in nature. However, although it is assumed that biologically significant protein-glycan binding is robustly detected by glycan microarrays, there are wide variations in the methods used to produce, present, couple, and detect glycans, and systematic cross-comparisons are lacking. We address these issues by comparing two arrays that together represent the marked diversity of sialic acid modifications, linkages, and underlying glycans in nature, including some identical motifs. We compare and contrast binding interactions with various known and novel plant, vertebrate, and viral sialic acid-recognizing proteins and present a technical advance for assessing specificity using mild periodate oxidation of the sialic acid chain. These data demonstrate both the diversity of sialic acids and the analytical power of glycan arrays, showing that different presentations in different formats provide useful and complementary interpretations of glycan-binding protein specificity. They also highlight important challenges and questions for the future of glycan array technology and suggest that glycan arrays with similar glycan structures cannot be simply assumed to give similar results.
Mucin glycoproteins present a complex structural landscape arising from the multiplicity of glycosylation patterns afforded by their numerous serine and threonine glycosylation sites, often in clusters, and with variations in respective glycans. To explore the structural complexities in such glycoconjugates, we used NMR to systematically analyze the conformational effects of glycosylation density within a cluster of sites. This allows correlation with molecular recognition through analysis of interactions between these and other glycopeptides, with antibodies, lectins, and sera, using a glycopeptide microarray. Selective antibody interactions with discrete conformational elements, reflecting aspects of the peptide and disposition of GalNAc residues, are observed. Our results help bridge the gap between conformational properties and molecular recognition of these molecules, with implications for their physiological roles. Features of the native mucin motifs impact their relative immunogenicity and are accurately encoded in the antibody binding site, with the conformational integrity being preserved in isolated glycopeptides, as reflected in the antibody binding profile to array components.
Cosmc is the specific molecular chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum for T-synthase, a Golgi β3-galactosyltransferase that generates the core 1 O-glycan, Galβ1-3GalNAcα-Ser/Thr, in glycoproteins. Dysfunctional Cosmc results in the formation of inactive T-synthase and consequent expression of the Tn antigen (GalNAcα1-Ser/Thr), which is associated with several human diseases. However, the molecular regulation of expression of Cosmc, which is encoded by a single gene on Xq24, is poorly understood. Here we show that epigenetic silencing of Cosmc through hypermethylation of its promoter leads to loss of Cosmc transcripts in Tn4 cells, an immortalized B cell line from a male patient with a Tn-syndrome-like phenotype. These cells lack T-synthase activity and express the Tn antigen. Treatment of cells with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine causes restoration of Cosmc transcripts, restores T-synthase activity, and reduces Tn antigen expression. Bisulfite sequencing shows that CG dinucleotides in the Cosmc core promoter are hypermethylated. Interestingly, several other X-linked genes associated with glycosylation are not silenced in Tn4 cells, and we observed no correlation of a particular DNA methyltransferase to aberrant methylation of Cosmc in these cells. Thus, hypermethylation of the Cosmc promoter in Tn4 cells is relatively specific. Epigenetic silencing of Cosmc provides another mechanism underlying the abnormal expression of the Tn antigen, which may be important in understanding aberrant Tn antigen expression in human diseases, including IgA nephropathy and cancer.
Human milk contains a large diversity of free glycans beyond lactose, but their functions are not well understood. To explore their functional recognition, here we describe a shotgun glycan microarray prepared from isolated human milk glycans (HMGs), and our studies on their recognition by viruses, antibodies, and glycan-binding proteins (GBPs), including lectins. The total neutral and sialylated HMGs were derivatized with a bifunctional fluorescent tag, separated by multidimensional HPLC, and archived in a tagged glycan library, which was then used to print a shotgun glycan microarray (SGM). This SGM was first interrogated with well defined GBPs and antibodies. These data demonstrated both the utility of the array and provided preliminary structural information (metadata) about this complex glycome. Anti-TRA-1 antibodies that recognize human pluripotent stem cells specifically recognized several HMGs that were then further structurally defined as novel epitopes for these antibodies. Human influenza viruses and Parvovirus Minute Viruses of Mice also specifically recognized several HMGs. For glycan sequencing, we used a novel approach termed metadata-assisted glycan sequencing (MAGS), in which we combine information from analyses of glycans by mass spectrometry with glycan interactions with defined GBPs and antibodies before and after exoglycosidase treatments on the microarray. Together, these results provide novel insights into diverse recognition functions of HMGs and show the utility of the SGM approach and MAGS as resources for defining novel glycan recognition by GBPs, antibodies, and pathogens.
Urea transporters UT-A1 and UT-A3 are both expressed in the kidney inner medulla. However, the function of UT-A3 remains unclear. Here, we found that UT-A3, which comprises only the NH(2)-terminal half of UT-A1, has a higher urea transport activity than UT-A1 in the oocyte and that this difference was associated with differences in N-glycosylation. Heterologously expressed UT-A3 is fully glycosylated with two glycoforms of 65 and 45 kDa. By contrast, UT-A1 expressed in HEK293 cells and oocytes exhibits only a 97-kDa glycosylation form. We further found that N-glycans of UT-A3 contain a large amount of poly-N-acetyllactosamine. This highly glycosylated UT-A3 is more stable and is enriched in lipid raft domains on the cell membrane. Kifunensine, an inhibitor of α-mannosidase that inhibits N-glycan processing beyond high-mannose-type N-glycans, significantly reduced UT-A3 urea transport activity. We then examined the native UT-A1 and UT-A3 glycosylation states from kidney inner medulla and found the ratio of 65 to 45 kDa in UT-A3 is higher than that of 117 to 97 kDa in UT-A1. The highly stable expression of highly glycosylated UT-A3 on the cell membrane in kidney inner medulla suggests that UT-A3 may have an important function in urea reabsorption.
A major limitation in studying the structures and functions of glycans in glycosphingolipids is the difficulty in releasing free glycans for analysis and derivatization. Here we show that reducing glycans can be released nonenzymatically from glycosphingolipids after a brief treatment with ozone followed by heating in neutral aqueous buffer (pHs 6.0-8.0). The released free reducing glycans are then available for glycomic analyses, including fluorescent labeling, permethylation, and mass spectrometry. This procedure is simple and highly efficient, with no base-catalyzed "peeling" reaction by-products observed.
Platelets express a variety of membrane and secreted glycoproteins, but the importance of glycosylation to platelet functions is poorly understood. To explore the importance of O-glycosylation, we generated mice with a targeted deletion of Cosmc in murine endothelial/hematopoietic cells (EHC) (EHC Cosmc(-/y)). X-linked Cosmc encodes an essential chaperone that regulates protein O-glycosylation. This targeted mutation resulted in lethal perinatal hemorrhage in the majority of mice, and the surviving mice displayed severely prolonged tail-bleeding times and macrothrombocytopenia. EHC Cosmc(-/y) platelets exhibited a marked decrease in GPIb-IX-V function and agonist-mediated integrin αIIbβ3 activation, associated with loss of interactions with von Willebrand factor and fibrinogen, respectively. Significantly, three O-glycosylated glycoproteins, GPIbα, αIIb, and GPVI normally on platelet surfaces that play essential roles in platelet functions, were partially proteolyzed in EHC Cosmc(-/y) platelets. These results demonstrate that extended O-glycans are required for normal biogenesis of the platelets as well as the expression and functions of their essential glycoproteins, and that variations in O-glycosylation may contribute to altered hemostasis.
Hemolytic transfusion reactions represent one of the most common causes of transfusion-related mortality. Although many factors influence hemolytic transfusion reactions, complement activation represents one of the most common features associated with fatality. In this paper we will focus on the role of complement in initiating and regulating hemolytic transfusion reactions and will discuss potential strategies aimed at mitigating or favorably modulating complement during incompatible red blood cell transfusions.
We have utilized glycan microarray technology to determine the receptor binding properties of early isolates from the recent 2009 H1N1 human pandemic (pdmH1N1), and compared them to North American swine influenza isolates from the same year, as well as past seasonal H1N1 human isolates. We showed that the pdmH1N1 strains, as well as the swine influenza isolates examined, bound almost exclusively to glycans with α2,6-linked sialic acid with little binding detected for α2,3-linked species. This is highlighted by pair-wise comparisons between compounds with identical glycan backbones, differing only in the chemistry of their terminal linkages. The overall similarities in receptor binding profiles displayed by pdmH1N1 strains and swine isolates indicate that little or no adaptation appeared to be necessary in the binding component of HA for transmission from pig to human, and subsequent human to human spread.
Effective immunity relies on the recognition of pathogens and tumors by innate immune cells through diverse pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that lead to initiation of signaling processes and secretion of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Galectins, a family of endogenous lectins widely expressed in infected and neoplastic tissues have emerged as part of the portfolio of soluble mediators and pattern recognition receptors responsible for eliciting and controlling innate immunity. These highly conserved glycan-binding proteins can control immune cell processes through binding to specific glycan structures on pathogens and tumors or by acting intracellularly via modulation of selective signaling pathways. Recent findings demonstrate that various galectin family members influence the fate and physiology of different innate immune cells including polymorphonuclear neutrophils, mast cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Moreover, several pathogens may actually utilize galectins as a mechanism of host invasion. In this review, we aim to highlight and integrate recent discoveries that have led to our current understanding of the role of galectins in host-pathogen interactions and innate immunity. Challenges for the future will embrace the rational manipulation of galectin-glycan interactions to instruct and shape innate immunity during microbial infections, inflammation, and cancer.
Loss of T-synthase (uridine diphosphate galactose:N-acetylgalactosaminyl-α1-Ser/Thr β3galactosyltransferase), a key enzyme required for the formation of mucin-type core 1 O-glycans, is observed in several human diseases, including cancer, Tn syndrome and IgA nephropathy, but current methods to assay the enzyme use radioactive substrates and complicated isolation of the product. Here we report the development of a novel fluorescent assay to measure its activity in a variety of tumor cell lines. Deficiencies in T-synthase activity correlate with mutations in the gene encoding the molecular chaperone Cosmc that is required for folding the T-synthase. This new high-throughput assay allows for facile screening of tumor specimens and other biological material for T-synthase activity and could be used diagnostically.
Major challenges of glycomics are to characterize a glycome and identify functional glycans as ligands for glycan-binding proteins (GBPs). To address these issues we developed a general strategy termed shotgun glycomics. We focus on glycosphingolipids (GSLs), a class of glycoconjugates that is challenging to study, recognized by toxins, antibodies and GBPs. We derivatized GSLs extracted from cells with a heterobifunctional fluorescent tag suitable for covalent immobilization. We separated fluorescent GSLs by multidimensional chromatography, quantified them and coupled them to glass slides to create GSL shotgun microarrays. Then we interrogated the microarrays with cholera toxin, antibodies and sera from individuals with Lyme disease to identify biologically relevant GSLs that we subsequently characterized by mass spectrometry. Shotgun glycomics incorporating GSLs and potentially glycoprotein-derived glycans is an approach for accessing the complex glycomes of animal cells and is a strategy for focusing structural analyses on functionally important glycans.
Glycoproteins in animal cells contain a variety of glycan structures that are added co- and/or posttranslationally to proteins. Of over 20 different types of sugar-amino acid linkages known, the two major types are N-glycans (Asn-linked) and O-glycans (Ser/Thr-linked). An abnormal mucin-type O-glycan whose expression is associated with cancer and several human disorders is the Tn antigen. It has a relatively simple structure composed of N-acetyl-D-galactosamine with a glycosidic α linkage to serine/threonine residues in glycoproteins (GalNAcα1-O-Ser/Thr), and was one of the first glycoconjugates to be chemically synthesized. The Tn antigen is normally modified by a specific galactosyltransferase (T-synthase) in the Golgi apparatus of cells. Expression of active T-synthase is uniquely dependent on the molecular chaperone Cosmc, which is encoded by a gene on the X chromosome. Expression of the Tn antigen can arise as a consequence of mutations in the genes for T-synthase or Cosmc, or genes affecting other steps of O-glycosylation pathways. Because of the association of the Tn antigen with disease, there is much interest in the development of Tn-based vaccines and other therapeutic approaches based on Tn expression.
The molecular basis for retention of integral membrane proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is not well understood. We recently discovered a novel ER molecular chaperone termed Cosmc, which is essential for folding and normal activity of the Golgi enzyme T-synthase. Cosmc, a type II single-pass transmembrane protein, lacks any known ER retrieval/retention motifs. To explore specific ER localization determinants in Cosmc we generated a series of Cosmc mutants along with chimeras of Cosmc with a non-ER resident type II protein, the human transferrin receptor. Here we show that the 18 amino acid transmembrane domain (TMD) of Cosmc is essential for ER localization and confers ER retention to select chimeras. Moreover, mutations of a single Cys residue within the TMD of Cosmc prevent formation of disulfide-bonded dimers of Cosmc and eliminate ER retention. These studies reveal that Cosmc has a unique ER-retention motif within its TMD and provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms by which TMDs of resident ER proteins contribute to ER localization.
To examine the range of selective processes that potentially operate when poorly binding influenza viruses adapt to replicate more efficiently in alternative environments, we passaged a virus containing an attenuating mutation in the hemagglutinin (HA) receptor binding site in mice and characterized the resulting mutants with respect to the structural locations of mutations selected, the replication phenotypes of the viruses, and their binding properties on glycan microarrays. The initial attenuated virus had a tyrosine-to-phenylalanine mutation at HA1 position 98 (Y98F), located in the receptor binding pocket, but viruses that were selected contained second-site pseudoreversion mutations in various structural locations that revealed a range of molecular mechanisms for modulating receptor binding that go beyond the scope that is generally mapped using receptor specificity mutants. A comparison of virus titers in the mouse respiratory tract versus MDCK cells in culture showed that the mutants displayed distinctive replication properties depending on the system, but all were less attenuated in mice than the Y98F virus. An analysis of receptor binding properties confirmed that the initial Y98F virus bound poorly to several different species of erythrocytes, while all mutants reacquired various degrees of hemagglutination activity. Interestingly, both the Y98F virus and pseudoreversion mutants were shown to bind very inefficiently to standard glycan microarrays containing an abundance of binding substrates for most influenza viruses that have been characterized to date, provided by the Consortium for Functional Glycomics. The viruses were also examined on a recently developed microarray containing glycans terminating in sialic acid derivatives, and limited binding to a potentially interesting subset of glycans was revealed. The results are discussed with respect to mechanisms for HA-mediated receptor binding, as well as regarding the species of molecules that may act as receptors for influenza virus on host cell surfaces.