Structural Insights into VLR Fine Specificity for Blood Group Carbohydrates


Collins BC, Gunn RJ, McKitrick TR, Cummings RD, Cooper MD, Herrin BR, Wilson IA. Structural Insights into VLR Fine Specificity for Blood Group Carbohydrates. CellPress. 2017;25 (11) :1667-1678.


High-quality reagents to study and detect glycans with high specificity for research and clinical applications are severely lacking. Here, we structurally and functionally characterize several variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR)-based antibodies from lampreys immunized with O erythrocytes that specifically recognize the blood group H-trisaccharide type II antigen. Glycan microarray analysis and biophysical data reveal that these VLRs exhibit greater specificity for H-trisaccharide compared with the plant lectin UEA-1, which is widely used in blood typing. Among these antibodies, O13 exhibits superior specificity for H-trisaccharide, the basis for which is revealed by comparative analysis of high-resolution VLR:glycan crystal structures. Using a structure-guided approach, we designed an O13 mutant with further enhanced specificity for H-trisaccharide. These insights into glycan recognition by VLRs suggest that lampreys can produce highly specific glycan antibodies, and are a valuable resource for the production of next-generation glycan reagents for biological and biomedical research and as diagnostics and therapeutics.

Publisher's Version