The Tn antigen is a neoantigen abnormally expressed in many human carcinomas and expression correlates with metastasis and poor survival. To explore its biomarker potential, new antibodies are needed that specifically recognize this antigen in tumors. Here we generated two recombinant antibodies to the Tn antigen, Remab6 as a chimeric human IgG1 antibody and ReBaGs6 as a murine IgM antibody and characterized their specificities using multiple biochemical and biological approaches. Both Remab6 and ReBaGs6 recognize clustered Tn structures, but most importantly do not recognize glycoforms of human IgA1 that contain potential cross-reactive Tn antigen structures. In flow cytometry and immunofluorescence analyses, Remab6 recognizes human cancer cell lines expressing the Tn antigen, but not their Tn-negative counterparts. In immunohistochemistry (IHC), Remab6 stains many human cancers in tissue array format but rarely stains normal tissues and then mostly intracellularly. We used these antibodies to identify several unique Tn-containing glycoproteins in Tn-positive Colo205 cells, indicating their utility for glycoproteomics in future biomarker studies. Thus, recombinant Remab6 and ReBaGs6 are useful for biochemical characterization of cancer cells and IHC of tumors and represent promising tools for Tn biomarker discovery independently of recognition of IgA1.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects 6.8 million people globally. A variety of factors have been implicated in IBD pathogenesis, including host genetics, immune dysregulation and gut microbiota alterations. Emerging evidence implicates intestinal epithelial glycosylation as an underappreciated process that interfaces with these three factors. IBD is associated with increased expression of truncated O-glycans as well as altered expression of terminal glycan structures. IBD genes, glycosyltransferase mislocalization, altered glycosyltransferase and glycosidase expression and dysbiosis drive changes in the glycome. These glycan changes disrupt the mucus layer, glycan-lectin interactions, host-microorganism interactions and mucosal immunity, and ultimately contribute to IBD pathogenesis. Epithelial glycans are especially critical in regulating the gut microbiota through providing bacterial ligands and nutrients and ultimately determining the spatial organization of the gut microbiota. In this Review, we discuss the regulation of intestinal epithelial glycosylation, altered epithelial glycosylation in IBD and mechanisms for how these alterations contribute to disease pathobiology. We hope that this Review provides a foundation for future studies on IBD glycosylation and the emergence of glycan-inspired therapies for IBD.
Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) are a growing group of inborn metabolic disorders with multiorgan presentation. SLC39A8-CDG is a severe subtype caused by biallelic mutations in the manganese transporter SLC39A8, reducing levels of this essential cofactor for many enzymes including glycosyltransferases. The current diagnostic standard for disorders of N-glycosylation is the analysis of serum transferrin. Exome and Sanger sequencing were performed in two patients with severe neurodevelopmental phenotypes suggestive of CDG. Transferrin glycosylation was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and isoelectric focusing in addition to comprehensive N-glycome analysis using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS). Atomic absorption spectroscopy was used to quantify whole blood manganese levels. Both patients presented with a severe, multisystem disorder, and a complex neurological phenotype. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a Leigh-like syndrome with bilateral T2 hyperintensities of the basal ganglia. In patient 1, exome sequencing identified the previously undescribed homozygous variant c.608T>C [p.F203S] in SLC39A8. Patient 2 was found to be homozygous for c.112G>C [p.G38R]. Both individuals showed a reduction of whole blood manganese, though transferrin glycosylation was normal. N-glycome using MALDI-TOF MS identified an increase of the asialo-agalactosylated precursor N-glycan A2G1S1 and a decrease in bisected structures. In addition, analysis of heterozygous CDG-allele carriers identified similar but less severe glycosylation changes. Despite its reliance as a clinical gold standard, analysis of transferrin glycosylation cannot be categorically used to rule out SLC39A8-CDG. These results emphasize that SLC39A8-CDG presents as a spectrum of dysregulated glycosylation, and MS is an important tool for identifying deficiencies not detected by conventional methods.
Protein glycosylation represents a nearly ubiquitous post-translational modification, and altered glycosylation can result in clinically significant pathological consequences. Here we focus on O-glycosylation in tumor cells of mice and humans. O-glycans are those linked to serine and threonine (Ser/Thr) residues via N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc), which are oligosaccharides that occur widely in glycoproteins, such as those expressed on the surfaces and in secretions of all cell types. The structure and expression of O-glycans are dependent on the cell type and disease state of the cells. There is a great interest in O-glycosylation of tumor cells, as they typically express many altered types of O-glycans compared with untransformed cells. Such altered expression of glycans, quantitatively and/or qualitatively on different glycoproteins, is used as circulating tumor biomarkers, such as CA19-9 and CA-125. Other tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs), such as the Tn antigen and sialyl-Tn antigen (STn), are truncated O-glycans commonly expressed by carcinomas on multiple glycoproteins; they contribute to tumor development and serve as potential biomarkers for tumor presence and stage, both in immunohistochemistry and in serum diagnostics. Here we discuss O-glycosylation in murine and human cells with a focus on colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancers, centering on the structure, function and recognition of O-glycans. There are enormous opportunities to exploit our knowledge of O-glycosylation in tumor cells to develop new diagnostics and therapeutics.
Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) play a critical role in the innate immune response to invading pathogens. However, dysregulated mucosal trafficking of PMNs and associated epithelial tissue damage is a pathological hallmark of numerous inflammatory conditions including inflammatory bowel disease. The glycoprotein CD11b/CD18 plays a well-described role in regulating PMN transepithelial migration and PMN inflammatory functions. Previous studies have demonstrated that targeting of the N-linked glycan Lewis X on CD11b blocks PMN transepithelial migration (TEpM). Given evidence of glycosylation-dependent regulation of CD11b/CD18 function, we performed MALDI TOF Mass Spectrometry (MS) analyses on CD11b/CD18 purified from human PMNs. Unusual glycan epitopes identified on CD11b/CD18 included high Mannose oligosaccharides recognized by the Galanthus Nivalis lectin and biantennary galactosylated N-glycans recognized by the Phaseolus Vulgaris erythroagglutinin lectin. Importantly, we show that selective targeting of glycans on CD11b with such lectins results in altered intracellular signaling events that inhibit TEpM and differentially affect key PMN inflammatory functions including phagocytosis, superoxide release and apoptosis. Taken together, these data demonstrate that discrete glycan motifs expressed on CD11b/CD18 such as biantennary galactose could represent novel targets for selective manipulation of CD11b function and reduction of PMN-associated tissue damage in chronic inflammatory diseases.
The spike (S) glycoprotein in the envelope of SARS-CoV-2 is densely glycosylated but the functions of its glycosylation are unknown. Here we demonstrate that S is recognized in a glycan-dependent manner by multiple innate immune receptors including the mannose receptor MR/CD206, DC-SIGN/CD209, L-SIGN/CD209L, and MGL/CLEC10A/CD301. Single-cell RNA sequencing analyses indicate that such receptors are highly expressed in innate immune cells in tissues susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Binding of the above receptors to S is characterized by affinities in the picomolar range and consistent with S glycosylation analysis demonstrating a variety of N- and O-glycans as receptor ligands. These results indicate multiple routes for SARS-CoV-2 to interact with human cells and suggest alternative strategies for therapeutic intervention.
A common missense variant in SLC39A8 is convincingly associated with schizophrenia and several additional phenotypes. Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in SLC39A8 result in undetectable serum manganese (Mn) and a Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation (CDG) due to the exquisite sensitivity of glycosyltransferases to Mn concentration. Here, we identified several Mn-related changes in human carriers of the common SLC39A8 missense allele. Analysis of structural brain MRI scans showed a dose-dependent change in the ratio of T2w to T1w signal in several regions. Comprehensive trace element analysis confirmed a specific reduction of only serum Mn, and plasma protein N-glycome profiling revealed reduced complexity and branching. N-glycome profiling from two individuals with SLC39A8-CDG showed similar but more severe alterations in branching that improved with Mn supplementation, suggesting that the common variant exists on a spectrum of hypofunction with potential for reversibility. Characterizing the functional impact of this variant will enhance our understanding of schizophrenia pathogenesis and identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers.
A hallmark of Gram-negative bacteria is an asymmetric outer membrane containing lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) in the extracellular leaflet. LPS molecules consist of lipid A, which is connected to the inner and outer core oligosaccharides. This LPS core structure is extended in the periplasm by the O antigen, a variable and serotype-defining polysaccharide. In the ABC transporter-dependent LPS biosynthesis pathway, the WzmWzt transporter secretes the complete O antigen across the inner membrane for ligation to the LPS core. In some O antigen transporters, the nucleotide-binding domain of Wzt is fused C-terminally to a carbohydrate-binding domain (CBD) that interacts with the O antigen chain. Here, we present the crystal structure of the Aquifex aeolicus CBD that reveals a conserved flat and a variable twisted jelly-roll surface. The CBD dimer is stabilized by mutual β strand exchange. Microbial glycan array binding studies with the isolated CBD provide insights into its interaction with complex carbohydrates.
Dysregulated healing of injured mucosa is a hallmark of many pathological conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. Mucosal injury and chronic intestinal inflammation are also associated with alterations in epithelial glycosylation. Previous studies have revealed that inflammation-induced glycan sialyl Lewis A on epithelial CD44v6 acts as a ligand for transmigrating PMNs. Here we report that robust sialylated Lewis glycan expression was induced in colonic mucosa from individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease as well as in the colonic epithelium of mice with colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Targeting of sialylated epithelial Lewis glycans with mAb GM35 reduced disease activity and improved mucosal integrity during DSS-induced colitis in mice. Wound healing studies revealed increased epithelial proliferation and migration responses as well as improved mucosal repair after ligation of epithelial sialyl Lewis glycans. Finally, we showed that GM35-mediated increases in epithelial proliferation and migration were mediated through activation of kinases that signal downstream of CD44v6 (Src, FAK, Akt). These findings suggest that sialylated Lewis glycans on CD44v6 represent epithelial targets for improved recovery of intestinal barrier function and restitution of mucosal homeostasis after inflammation or injury.
Glycans are one of the major biological polymers found in the mammalian body. They play a vital role in a number of physiologic and pathologic conditions. Glycan microarrays allow a plethora of information to be obtained on protein-glycan binding interactions. In this review, we describe the intricacies of the generation of glycan microarray data and the experimental methods for studying binding. We highlight the importance of this knowledge before moving on to the data analysis. We then highlight a number of tools for the analysis of glycan microarray data such as data repositories, data visualization and manual analysis tools, automated analysis tools and structural informatics tools.
Humoral immunity to pathogens and other environmental challenges is paramount to maintain normal health, and individuals lacking or unable to make antibodies are at risk. Recent studies indicate that many human protective antibodies are against carbohydrate antigens; however, little is known about repertoires and individual variation of anti-carbohydrate antibodies in healthy individuals. Here we analyzed anti-carbohydrate antibody repertoires (ACARs) of 105 healthy individual adult donors, aged 20-60 from different ethnic backgrounds to explore variations in antibodies, as defined by binding to glycan microarrays and by affinity purification. Using microarrays that contained > 1,000 glycans, including antigens from animal cells and microbes, we profiled the IgG and IgM ACARs from all donors. Each donor expressed many ACAs, but had a relatively unique ACAR, which included unanticipated antibodies to carbohydrate antigens not well studied, such as chitin oligosaccharides, Forssman-related antigens, globo-type antigens, and bacterial glycans. We also saw some expected antibodies to ABO(H) blood group and α-Gal-type antigens, although these also varied among individuals. Analysis suggests differences in ACARs are associated with ethnicity and age. Thus, each individual ACAR is relatively unique, suggesting that individualized information could be useful in precision medicine for predicting and monitoring immune health and resistance to disease.
Growth of the cholera bacterium in a biofilm community contributes to both its pathogenicity and survival in aquatic environmental niches. The major components of biofilms include olyaccharide (VPS) and the extracellular matrix proteins RbmA, RbmC, and Bap1. To further elucidate the previously observed overlapping roles of Bap1 and RbmC in biofilm architecture and surface attachment, here we investigated the structural and functional properties of Bap1. Soluble expression of Bap1 was possible only after the removal of an internal 57-amino-acid-long hydrophobic insertion sequence. The crystal structure of Bap1 at 1.9 Å resolution revealed a two-domain assembly made up of an eight-bladed β-propeller interrupted by a β-prism domain. The structure also revealed metal-binding sites within canonical calcium blade motifs, which appear to have structural rather than functional roles. Contrary to results previously observed with RbmC, the Bap1 β-prism domain did not exhibit affinity for complex -glycans, suggesting an altered role of this domain in biofilm-surface adhesion. Native polyacrylamide gel shift analysis did suggest that Bap1 exhibits lectin activity with a preference for anionic or linear polysaccharides. Our results suggest a model for biofilms in which Bap1 and RbmC play dominant but differing adhesive roles in biofilms, allowing bacterial attachment to diverse environmental or host surfaces.
The specific targeting of differentially expressed glycans in malignant cells has emerged as an attractive anticancer strategy. One such target is the oncodevelopmental antigen polysialic acid (polySia), a polymer of α2,8-linked sialic acid residues that is largely absent during postnatal development but is re-expressed during progression of several malignant human tumors, including small-cell and non-small cell lung carcinomas, glioma, neuroblastoma, and pancreatic carcinoma. In these cancers, expression of polySia correlates with tumor progression and poor prognosis and appears to modulate cancer cell adhesion, invasiveness, and metastasis. To evaluate the potential of PolySia as a target for anticancer therapy, we developed a chimeric human polySia-specific mAb that retained low nanomolar (nmol/L) target affinity and exhibited exquisite selectivity for polySia structures. The engineered chimeric mAb recognized several polySia-positive tumor cell lines and induced rapid endocytosis of polySia antigens. To determine whether this internalization could be exploited for delivery of conjugated cytotoxic drugs, we generated an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) by covalently linking the chimeric human mAb to the tubulin-binding maytansinoid DM1 using a bioorthogonal chemical reaction scheme. The resulting polySia-directed ADC demonstrated potent target-dependent cytotoxicity against polySia-positive tumor cells . Collectively, these results establish polySia as a valid cell-surface, cancer-specific target for glycan-directed ADC and contribute to a growing body of evidence that the tumor glycocalyx is a promising target for synthetic immunotherapies. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings describe a glycan-specific antibody-drug conjugate that establishes polySia as a viable cell surface target within the tumor glycocalyx.
Immune system failure in primary antibody deficiencies (PADs) has been linked to recurrent infections, autoimmunity, and cancer, yet clinical judgment is often based on the reactivity to a restricted panel of antigens. Previously, we demonstrated that the human repertoire of carbohydrate-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) exhibits modular organization related to glycan epitope structure. The current study compares the glycan-specific IgG repertoires between different PAD entities. Distinct repertoire profiles with extensive qualitative glycan-recognition defects were observed, which are characterized by the common loss of Galα and GalNAc reactivity and disease-specific recognition of microbial antigens, self-antigens, and tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens. Antibody repertoire analysis may provide a useful tool to elucidate the degree and the clinical implications of immune system failure in individual patients.
T lymphocytes, a key arm of adaptive immunity, are known to dynamically regulate O-glycosylation during T cell maturation and when responding to stimuli; however, the direct role of O-glycans in T cell maturation remains largely unknown. Using a conditional knockout of the gene (C1GalT1C1 or Cosmc) encoding the specific chaperone Cosmc, we generated mice whose T cells lack extended O-glycans (T cell conditional Cosmc knock out or TCKO mice) and homogeneously express the truncated Tn antigen. Loss of Cosmc is highly deleterious to T cell persistence, with near-complete elimination of Cosmc-null T cells from spleen and lymph nodes. Total T cell counts are 20% of wild type (WT), among which only 5% express the truncated glycans, with the remaining 95% consisting of escapers from Cre-mediated recombination. TCKO thymocytes were able to complete thymic maturation but failed to populate the secondary lymphoid organs both natively and upon adoptive transfer to WT recipients. Our results demonstrate that extended O-glycosylation is required for the establishment and maintenance of the peripheral T cell population.
Access to efficient enzymes that can convert A and B type red blood cells to 'universal' donor O would greatly increase the supply of blood for transfusions. Here we report the functional metagenomic screening of the human gut microbiome for enzymes that can remove the cognate A and B type sugar antigens. Among the genes encoded in our library of 19,500 expressed fosmids bearing gut bacterial DNA, we identify an enzyme pair from the obligate anaerobe Flavonifractor plautii that work in concert to efficiently convert the A antigen to the H antigen of O type blood, via a galactosamine intermediate. The X-ray structure of the N-acetylgalactosamine deacetylase reveals the active site and mechanism of the founding member of an esterase family. The galactosaminidase expands activities within the CAZy family GH36. Their ability to completely convert A to O of the same rhesus type at very low enzyme concentrations in whole blood will simplify their incorporation into blood transfusion practice, broadening blood supply.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a global public health issue due to its association with severe developmental disorders in infants and neurological disorders in adults. ZIKV uses glycosylation of its envelope (E) protein to interact with host cell receptors to facilitate entry; these interactions could also be important for designing therapeutics and vaccines. Due to a lack of proper information about Asn-linked (N-glycans) on ZIKV E, we analyzed ZIKV E of various strains derived from different cells. We found ZIKV E proteins being extensively modified with oligomannose, hybrid and complex N-glycans of a highly heterogeneous nature. Host cell surface glycans correlated strongly with the glycomic features of ZIKV E. Mechanistically, we observed that ZIKV N-glycans might play a role in viral pathogenesis, as mannose-specific C-type lectins DC-SIGN and L-SIGN mediate host cell entry of ZIKV. Our findings represent the first detailed mapping of N-glycans on ZIKV E of various strains and their functional significance.
Sialic acids are a family of related sugars that play essential roles in many biological events intimately linked to cellular recognition in both health and disease. Sialidases are therefore orchestrators of cellular biology and important therapeutic targets for viral infection. Here, we sought to define if uncharacterized sialidases would provide distinct paradigms in sialic acid biochemistry. We show that a recently discovered sialidase family, whose first member EnvSia156 was isolated from hot spring metagenomes, defines an unusual structural fold and active centre constellation, not previously described in sialidases. Consistent with an inverting mechanism, EnvSia156 reveals a His/Asp active center in which the His acts as a Brønsted acid and Asp as a Brønsted base in a single-displacement mechanism. A predominantly hydrophobic aglycone site facilitates accommodation of a variety of 2-linked sialosides; a versatility that offers the potential for glycan hydrolysis across a range of biological and technological platforms.
Mumps virus (MuV) is an important aerosol-transmitted human pathogen causing epidemic parotitis, meningitis, encephalitis, and deafness. MuV preferentially uses a trisaccharide containing α2,3-linked sialic acid as a receptor. However, given the MuV tropism toward glandular tissues and the central nervous system, an additional glycan motif(s) may also serve as a receptor. Here, we performed a large-scale glycan array screen with MuV hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (MuV-HN) attachment proteins by using 600 types of glycans from The Consortium for Functional Glycomics Protein-Glycan Interaction Core in an effort to find new glycan receptor motif(s). According to the results of the glycan array, we successfully determined the crystal structures of MuV-HN proteins bound to newly identified glycan motifs, sialyl Lewis (SLe) and the oligosaccharide portion of the GM2 ganglioside (GM2-glycan). Interestingly, the complex structures showed that SLe and GM2-glycan share the same configuration with the reported trisaccharide motif, 3'-sialyllactose (3'-SL), at the binding site of MuV-HN, while SLe and GM2-glycan have several unique interactions compared with those of 3'-SL. Thus, MuV-HN protein can allow an additional spatial modification in GM2-glycan and SLe at the second and third carbohydrates from the nonreducing terminus of the core trisaccharide structure, respectively. Importantly, MuV entry was efficiently inhibited in the presence of 3'-SL, SLe, or GM2-glycan derivatives, which indicates that these motifs can serve as MuV receptors. The α2,3-sialylated oligosaccharides, such as SLe and 3'-sialyllactosamine, are broadly expressed in various tissues, and GM2 exists mainly in neural tissues and the adrenal gland. The distribution of these glycan motifs in human tissues/organs may have bearing on MuV tropism. Mumps virus (MuV) infection is characterized by parotid gland swelling and can cause pancreatitis, orchitis, meningitis, and encephalitis. MuV-related hearing loss is also a serious complication because it is usually irreversible. MuV outbreaks have been reported in many countries, even in high-vaccine-coverage areas. MuV has tropism toward glandular tissues and the central nervous system. To understand the unique MuV tropism, revealing the mechanism of receptor recognition by MuV is very important. Here, using a large-scale glycan array and X-ray crystallography, we show that MuV recognizes sialyl Lewis and GM2 ganglioside as receptors, in addition to a previously reported MuV receptor, a trisaccharide containing an α2,3-linked sialic acid. The flexible recognition of these glycan receptors by MuV may explain the unique tropism and pathogenesis of MuV. Structures will also provide a template for the development of effective entry inhibitors targeting the receptor-binding site of MuV.