Structural Insights into VLR Fine Specificity for Blood Group Carbohydrates

Citation:

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.

Abstract:

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.

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