The cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are a large family of pore-forming toxins that often exhibit distinct structural changes that modify their pore-forming activity. A soluble platelet aggregation factor from Streptococcus mitis (Sm-hPAF) was characterized and shown to be a functional CDC with an amino-terminal fucose-binding lectin domain. Sm-hPAF, or lectinolysin (LLY) as renamed herein, is most closely related to CDCs from Streptococcus intermedius (ILY) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumolysin or PLY). The LLY gene was identified in strains of S. mitis, S. pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae. LLY induces pore-dependent changes in the light scattering properties of the platelets that mimic those induced by platelet aggregation but does not induce platelet aggregation. LLY monomers form the typical large homooligomeric membrane pore complex observed for the CDCs. The pore-forming activity of LLY on platelets is modulated by the amino-terminal lectin domain, a structure that is not present in other CDCs. Glycan microarray analysis showed the lectin domain is specific for difucosylated glycans within Lewis b (Le (b)) and Lewis y (Le (y)) antigens. The glycan-binding site is occluded in the soluble monomer of LLY but is apparently exposed after cell binding, since it significantly increases LLY pore-forming activity in a glycan-dependent manner. Hence, LLY represents a new class of CDC whose pore-forming mechanism is modulated by a glycan-binding domain.
Galectin-1 (Gal-1) and galectin-3 (Gal-3) exhibit profound but unique immunomodulatory activities in animals but their molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. Early studies suggested that Gal-1 inhibits leukocyte function by inducing apoptotic cell death and removal, but recent studies show that some galectins induce exposure of the common death signal phosphatidylserine (PS) independently of apoptosis. In this study, we report that Gal-3, but not Gal-1, induces both PS exposure and apoptosis in primary activated human T cells, whereas both Gal-1 and Gal-3 induce PS exposure in neutrophils in the absence of cell death. Gal-1 and Gal-3 bind differently to the surfaces of T cells and only Gal-3 mobilizes intracellular Ca2+ in these cells, although Gal-1 and Gal-3 bind their respective T cell ligands with similar affinities. Although Gal-1 does not alter T cell viability, it induces IL-10 production and attenuates IFN-gamma production in activated T cells, suggesting a mechanism for Gal-1-mediated immunosuppression in vivo. These studies demonstrate that Gal-1 and Gal-3 induce differential responses in T cells and neutrophils, and identify the first factor, Gal-3, capable of inducing PS exposure with or without accompanying apoptosis in different leukocytes, thus providing a possible mechanism for galectin-mediated immunomodulation in vivo.
Human galectins have distinct and overlapping biological roles in immunological homeostasis. However, the underlying differences among galectins in glycan binding specificity regulating these functions are unclear. Galectin-8 (Gal-8), a tandem repeat galectin, has two distinct carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs) that may cross-link cell surface counter receptors. Here we report that each Gal-8 CRD has differential glycan binding specificity and that cell signaling activity resides in the C-terminal CRD. Full-length Gal-8 and recombinant individual domains (Gal-8N and Gal-8C) bound to human HL60 cells, but only full-length Gal-8 signaled phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure in cells, which occurred independently of apoptosis. Although desialylation of cells did not alter Gal-8 binding, it enhanced cellular sensitivity to Gal-8-induced PS exposure. By contrast, HL60 cell desialylation increased binding by Gal-8C but reduced Gal-8N binding. Enzymatic reduction in surface poly-N-acetyllactosamine (polyLacNAc) glycans in HL60 cells reduced cell surface binding by Gal-8C but did not alter Gal-8N binding. Cross-linking and light scattering studies showed that Gal-8 is dimeric, and studies on individual subunits indicate that dimerization occurs through the Gal-8N domain. Mutations of individual domains within full-length Gal-8 showed that signaling activity toward HL60 cells resides in the C-terminal domain. In glycan microarray analyses, each CRD of Gal-8 showed different binding, with Gal-8N recognizing sulfated and sialylated glycans and Gal-8C recognizing blood group antigens and polyLacNAc glycans. These results demonstrate that Gal-8 dimerization promotes functional bivalency of each CRD, which allows Gal-8 to signal PS exposure in leukocytes entirely through C-terminal domain recognition of polyLacNAc glycans.
Dimeric galectin-1 (dGal-1) is a homodimeric lectin with multiple proposed functions. Although dGal-1 binds to diverse glycans, it is unclear whether dGal-1 preferentially binds to specific subsets of glycans on cell surfaces to transmit signals. To explore this question, we selectively inhibited major glycan biosynthetic pathways in human HL60, Molt-4, and Jurkat cells. Inhibition of N-glycan processing blocked surface binding of dGal-1 and prevented dGal-1-induced Ca(2+) mobilization and phosphatidylserine exposure. By contrast, inhibition of O-glycan or glycosphingolipid biosynthesis did not affect dGal-1 binding or dGal-1-induced Ca(2+) mobilization and phosphatidylserine exposure. These results demonstrate that dGal-1 preferentially binds to and signals through glycoproteins containing complex-type N-glycans in at least some leukocyte subsets.
The Candida glabrata genome encodes at least 23 members of the EPA (epithelial adhesin) family responsible for mediating adherence to host cells. To better understand the mechanism by which the Epa proteins contribute to pathogenesis, we have used glycan microarray analysis to characterize their carbohydrate-binding specificities. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains surface-expressing the N-terminal ligand-binding domain of the Epa proteins, we found that the three Epa family members functionally identified as adhesins in Candida glabrata (Epa1, Epa6 and Epa7) bind to ligands containing a terminal galactose residue. However, the specificity of the three proteins for glycans within this class varies, with Epa6 having a broader specificity range than Epa1 or Epa7. This result is intriguing given the close homology between Epa6 and Epa7, which are 92% identical at the amino acid level. We have mapped a five-amino-acid region within the N-terminal ligand-binding domain that accounts for the difference in specificity of Epa6 and Epa7 and show that these residues contribute to adherence to both epithelial and endothelial cell lines in vitro.
Neoplastic lesions typically express specific carbohydrate antigens on glycolipids, mucins, and other glycoproteins. Such antigens are often under epigenetic control and are subject to reversion and loss upon therapeutic selective pressure. We report here that two of the most common tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens, Tn and sialyl Tn (STn), result from somatic mutations in the gene Cosmc that encodes a molecular chaperone required for formation of the active T-synthase. Diverse neoplastic lesions, including colon cancer and melanoma-derived cells lines, expressed both Tn and STn antigen due to loss-of-function mutations in Cosmc. In addition, two human cervical cancer specimens that showed expression of the Tn/STn antigens were also found to have mutations in Cosmc and loss of heterozygosity for the cross-linked Cosmc locus. This is the first example of somatic mutations in multiple types of cancers that cause global alterations in cell surface carbohydrate antigen expression.
Leukocyte trafficking involves specific recognition between P-selectin and L-selectin and PSGL-1 containing core 2-based O-glycans expressing sialyl Lewis x (SLe(x)) antigen. However, the structural identity of the glycan component(s) displayed by murine neutrophil PSGL-1 that contributes to its P-selectin counter-receptor activity has been uncertain, since these cells express little if any SLe(x) antigen, and because there have been no direct studies to examine murine PSGL-1 glycosylation. To address this uncertainty, we studied PSGL-1 glycosylation in the murine cell line WEHI-3 using metabolic-radiolabeling with (3)H-monosaccharide precursors to detect low-abundance O-glycan structures. We report that PSGL-1 from WEHI-3 cells expresses a di-sialylated core 2 O-glycan containing the SLe(x) antigen. This fucosylated O-glycan is scarce on PSGL-1 and essentially undetectable in total leukocyte glycoproteins from WEHI-3 cells. These results demonstrate that WEHI-3 cells selectively fucosylate PSGL-1 to generate functionally important core 2-based O-glycans containing the SLe(x) antigen.
Regulatory pathways for protein glycosylation are poorly understood, but expression of branchpoint enzymes is critical. A key branchpoint enzyme is the T-synthase, which directs synthesis of the common core 1 O-glycan structure (T-antigen), the precursor structure for most mucin-type O-glycans in a wide variety of glycoproteins. Formation of active T-synthase, which resides in the Golgi apparatus, requires a unique molecular chaperone, Cosmc, encoded on Xq24. Cosmc is the only molecular chaperone known to be lost through somatic acquired mutations in cells. We show that Cosmc is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized adenosine triphosphate binding chaperone that binds directly to human T-synthase. Cosmc prevents the aggregation and ubiquitin-mediated degradation of the T-synthase. These results demonstrate that Cosmc is a molecular chaperone in the ER required for this branchpoint glycosyltransferase function and show that expression of the disease-related Tn antigen can result from deregulation or loss of Cosmc function.
Muscle degenerative diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are incurable and treatment options are still restrained. Understanding the mechanisms and factors responsible for muscle degeneration and regeneration will facilitate the development of novel therapeutics. Several recent studies have demonstrated that Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a carbohydrate-binding protein, induces myoblast differentiation and fusion in vitro, suggesting a potential role for this mammalian lectin in muscle regenerative processes in vivo. However, the expression and localization of Gal-1 in vivo during muscle injury and repair are unclear. We report the expression and localization of Gal-1 during degenerative-regenerative processes in vivo using two models of muscular dystrophy and muscle injury. Gal-1 expression increased significantly during muscle degeneration in the murine mdx and in the canine Golden Retriever Muscular Dystrophy animal models. Compulsory exercise of mdx mouse, which intensifies degeneration, also resulted in sustained Gal-1 levels. Furthermore, muscle injury of wild-type C57BL/6 mice, induced by BaCl(2) treatment, also resulted in a marked increase in Gal-1 levels. Increased Gal-1 levels appeared to localize both inside and outside the muscle fibers with significant extracellular Gal-1 colocalized with infiltrating CD45(+) leukocytes. By contrast, regenerating muscle tissue showed a marked decrease in Gal-1 to baseline levels. These results demonstrate significant regulation of Gal-1 expression in vivo and suggest a potential role for Gal-1 in muscle homeostasis and repair.
Mucin-type O-glycans (O-glycans) are highly expressed in vascular ECs. However, it is not known whether they are important for vascular development. To investigate the roles of EC O-glycans, we generated mice lacking T-synthase, a glycosyltransferase encoded by the gene C1galt1 that is critical for the biosynthesis of core 1-derived O-glycans, in ECs and hematopoietic cells (termed here EHC T-syn(-/-) mice). EHC T-syn(-/-) mice exhibited embryonic and neonatal lethality associated with disorganized and blood-filled lymphatic vessels. Bone marrow transplantation and EC C1galt1 transgene rescue demonstrated that lymphangiogenesis specifically requires EC O-glycans, and intestinal lymphatic microvessels in EHC T-syn(-/-) mice expressed a mosaic of blood and lymphatic EC markers. The level of O-glycoprotein podoplanin was significantly reduced in EHC T-syn(-/-) lymphatics, and podoplanin-deficient mice developed blood-filled lymphatics resembling EHC T-syn(-/-) defects. In addition, postnatal inactivation of C1galt1 caused blood/lymphatic vessel misconnections that were similar to the vascular defects in the EHC T-syn(-/-) mice. One consequence of eliminating T-synthase in ECs and hematopoietic cells was that the EHC T-syn(-/-) pups developed fatty liver disease, because of direct chylomicron deposition via misconnected portal vein and intestinal lymphatic systems. Our studies therefore demonstrate that EC O-glycans control the separation of blood and lymphatic vessels during embryonic and postnatal development, in part by regulating podoplanin expression.
To facilitate qualitative and quantitative analysis of glycosaminoglycans, we tagged the reducing end of lyase-generated disaccharides with aniline-containing stable isotopes (12C6 and 13C6). Because different isotope tags have no effect on chromatographic retention times but can be discriminated by a mass detector, differentially isotope-tagged samples can be compared simultaneously by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and quantified by admixture with known amounts of standards. The technique is adaptable to all types of glycosaminoglycans, and its sensitivity is only limited by the type of mass spectrometer available. We validated the method using commercial heparin and keratan sulfate as well as heparan sulfate isolated from mutant and wild-type Chinese hamster ovary cells, and select tissues from mutant and wild-type mice. This new method provides more robust, reliable, and sensitive means of quantitative evaluation of glycosaminoglycan disaccharide compositions than existing techniques allowing us to compare the chondroitin and heparan sulfate compositions of Hydra vulgaris, Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mammalian cells. Our results demonstrate significant differences in glycosaminoglycan structure among these organisms that might represent evolutionarily distinct functional motifs.
Galectin-8 has two different carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs), the N-terminal Gal-8N and the C-terminal Gal-8C linked by a peptide, and has various effects on cell adhesion and signaling. To understand the mechanism for these effects further, we compared the binding activities of galectin-8 in solution with its binding and activation of cells. We used glycan array analysis to broaden the specificity profile of the two galectin-8 CRDs, as well as intact galectin-8s (short and long linker), confirming the unique preference for sulfated and sialylated glycans of Gal-8N. Using a fluorescence anisotropy assay, we examined the solution affinities for a subset of these glycans, the highest being 50 nM for NeuAcalpha2,3Lac by Gal-8N. Thus, carbohydrate-protein interactions can be of high affinity without requiring multivalency. More importantly, using fluorescence polarization, we also gained information on how the affinity is built by multiple weak interactions between different fragments of the glycan and its carrier molecule and the galectin CRD subsites (A-E). In intact galectin-8 proteins, the two domains act independently of each other in solution, whereas at a surface they act together. Ligands with moderate or weak affinity for the isolated CRDs on the array are bound strongly by intact galectin-8s. Also galectin-8 binding and signaling at cell surfaces can be explained by combined binding of the two CRDs to low or medium affinity ligands, and their highest affinity ligands, such as sialylated galactosides, are not required.
Cellular turnover is associated with exposure of surface phosphatidylserine (PS) in apoptotic cells, leading to their phagocytic recognition and removal. But recent studies indicate that surface PS exposure is not always associated with apoptosis. Here we show that several members of the human galectin family of glycan binding proteins (galectins-1, -2, and -4) induce PS exposure in a carbohydrate-dependent fashion in activated, but not resting, human neutrophils and in several leukocyte cell lines. PS exposure is not associated with apoptosis in activated neutrophils. The exposure of PS in cell lines treated with these galectins is sustained and does not affect cell viability. Unexpectedly, these galectins bind well to activated T lymphocytes, but do not induce either PS exposure or apoptosis, indicating that galectin's effects are cell specific. These results suggest novel immunoregulatory contribution of galectins in regulating leukocyte turnover independently of apoptosis.
The genome of Caenorhabditis elegans encodes five genes with homology to known alpha1,3 fucosyltransferases (alpha1,3FTs), but their expression and functions are poorly understood. Here we report the molecular cloning and characterization of these C. elegans alpha1,3FTs (CEFT-1 through -5). The open-reading frame for each enzyme predicts a type II transmembrane protein and multiple potential N-glycosylation sites. We prepared recombinant epitope-tagged forms of each CEFT and found that they had unusual acceptor specificity, cation requirements, and temperature sensitivity. CEFT-1 acted on the N-glycan pentasaccharide core acceptor to generate Manalpha1-3(Manalpha1-6)Manbeta1-4GlcNAcbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAcbeta1-Asn. In contrast, CEFT-2 did not act on the pentasaccharide acceptor, but instead utilized a LacdiNAc acceptor to generate GalNAcbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAcbeta1-3Galbeta1-4Glc, which is a novel activity. CEFT-3 utilized a LacNAc acceptor to generate Galbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAcbeta1-3Galbeta1-4Glc without requiring cations. CEFT-4 was similar to CEFT-3, but its activity was enhanced by some divalent cations. Recombinant CEFT-5 was well expressed, but did not act on available acceptors. Each CEFT was optimally active at room temperature and rapidly lost activity at 37 degrees C. Promoter analysis showed that CEFT-1 is expressed in C. elegans eggs and adults, but its expression was restricted to a few neuronal cells at the head and tail. We prepared deletion mutants for each enzyme for phenotypic analysis. While loss of CEFT-1 correlated with loss of pentasaccharide core activity and core alpha1,3-fucosylated glycans in worms, loss of other enzymes did not correlate with any phenotypic changes. These results suggest that each of the alpha1,3FTs in C. elegans has unique specificity and expression patterns.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is a leading cause of their morbidity and mortality. Pathogenesis is initiated in part by molecular interactions of P. aeruginosa with carbohydrate residues in airway mucins that accumulate in the lungs of patients with this disease. To explore the nature of the glycans recognized by a stable, mucoid, alginate-producing strain P. aeruginosa 8830 we generated a genetically modified Pa8830 expressing green fluorescent protein (Pa3380-GFP). We tested its binding to a panel of glycolipids and neoglycolipids in which selected glycans were covalently attached to dipalmitoyl phosphatidylethanolamine and analyzed on silica gel surfaces. Among all glycans tested, Pa8830-GFP bound best to sialyl-Le(x)-containing glycan NeuAc(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)[Fuc(alpha1-3)]GlcNAc-R and bound weakly to H-type blood group Fucalpha1-2Galbeta1-4GlcNAc-R, sialyl-lactose, and Le(x), and exhibited little binding toward non-fucosylated derivatives. Interestingly, while Pa8830-GFP bound to the glycosphingolipid asialoGM1, it did not appear to bind to a wide variety of other glycosphingolipids including GM1, GM2, asialoGM2, and sulfatide. These results indicate that P. aeruginosa 8830 has preferential binding to sialyl-Le(x)-containing glycans and has weak recognition of related fucose- and sialic acid-containing glycans. The finding that Pa8830 binds sialyl-Le(x)-containing glycans, which occur at increased levels in mucins from CF patients, is consistent with studies of other strains of P. aeruginosa and further suggests that such glycans on CF mucins contribute to disease pathogenesis.
Fertilization in mammals requires sperm to bind to the zona pellucida (ZP) that surrounds the egg. Galactose (Gal) or N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residues on the glycans of ZP protein 3 (ZP3) have been implicated as mouse sperm receptors. However, Mgat1(-/-) eggs with modified N-glycans lacking terminal Gal and GlcNAc residues are fertilized. To determine if Gal and GlcNAc on O-glycans of the ZP are required for fertilization, a conditional allele of the T-synthase gene (T-syn(F)) was generated. T-syn encodes core 1 beta1,3-galactosyltransferase 1 (T-synthase), which initiates the synthesis of core-1-derived O-glycans, the only O-glycans on mouse ZP3. T-syn(F/F):ZP3Cre females in which T-syn(F) was deleted at the beginning of oogenesis generated eggs lacking core-1-derived O-glycans. Nevertheless, T-syn(F/F):ZP3Cre females were fertile and their eggs bound sperm similarly to controls. In addition, T-syn(-/-) embryos generated from T-syn null eggs developed until approximately E12.5. Thus, core-1-derived O-glycans are not required for blastogenesis, implantation, or development prior to midgestation. Moreover, T-syn(-/-)Mgat1(-/-) eggs lacking complex and hybrid N-glycans as well as core-1-derived O-glycans were fertilized. The combined data show that mouse ZP3 does not require terminal Gal or GlcNAc on either N- or O-glycans for fertilization.
We investigated the binding of human parainfluenza virus types 1 and 3 (hPIV1 and hPIV3, respectively) to the glycan array of the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and binding and their release from erythrocytes under conditions where neuraminidase is inactive or active. hPIV1 and hPIV3 bind modifications of Neu5Acalpha2-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc, including the sialyl-Lewis(x) motif and structures containing 6-sulfogalactose. hPIV1 and hPIV3 thus bind typical N-linked glycans, in contrast to avian influenza virus H5 hemagglutinin (J. Stevens, O. Blixt, T. M. Tumpey, J. K. Taubenberger, J. C. Paulson, and I. A. Wilson, Science 312:404-410, 2006), which binds less-common motifs. While the receptor is not the sole determinant of tropism, hPIV or H5 influenza virus infection of specific cells that express receptors may contribute to their different pathologies.
Altered intestinal O-glycan expression has been observed in patients with ulcerative colitis and colorectal cancer, but the role of this alteration in the etiology of these diseases is unknown. O-glycans in mucin core proteins are the predominant components of the intestinal mucus, which comprises part of the intestinal mucosal barrier. Core 3-derived O-glycans, which are one of the major types of O-glycans, are primarily expressed in the colon. To investigate the biological function of core 3-derived O-glycans, we engineered mice lacking core 3 beta1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (C3GnT), an enzyme predicted to be important in the synthesis of core 3-derived O-glycans. Disruption of the C3GnT gene eliminated core 3-derived O-glycans. C3GnT-deficient mice displayed a discrete, colon-specific reduction in Muc2 protein and increased permeability of the intestinal barrier. Moreover, these mice were highly susceptible to experimental triggers of colitis and colorectal adenocarcinoma. These data reveal a requirement for core 3-derived O-glycans in resistance to colonic disease.
The basic biochemical mechanisms underlying many heritable human polycystic diseases are unknown despite evidence that most cases are caused by mutations in members of several protein families, the most prominent being the polycystin gene family, whose products are found on the primary cilia, or due to mutations in posttranslational processing and transport. Inherited polycystic kidney disease, the most prevalent polycystic disease, currently affects approximately 500,000 people in the United States. Decreases in proteoglycans (PGs) have been found in tissues and cultured cells from patients who suffer from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, and this PG decrease has been hypothesized to be responsible for cystogenesis. This is possible because alterations in PG concentrations would be predicted to disrupt many homeostatic mechanisms of growth, development, and metabolism. To test this hypothesis, we have generated mice lacking xylosyltransferase 2 (XylT2), an enzyme involved in PG biosynthesis. Here we show that inactivation of XylT2 results in a substantial reduction in PGs and a phenotype characteristic of many aspects of polycystic liver and kidney disease, including biliary epithelial cysts, renal tubule dilation, organ fibrosis, and basement membrane abnormalities. Our findings demonstrate that alterations in PG concentrations can occur due to loss of XylT2, and that reduced PGs can induce cyst development.