Parasitic helminths (worms) co-evolved with vertebrate immune systems to enable long-term survival of worms in infected hosts. Among their survival strategies, worms use their glycans within glycoproteins and glycolipids, which are abundant on helminth surfaces and in their excretory/ secretory products, to regulate and suppress host immune responses. Many helminths express unusual and antigenic (nonhost-like) glycans, including those containing polyfucose, tyvelose, terminal GalNAc, phosphorylcholine, methyl groups, and sugars in unusual linkages. In addition, some glycan antigens are expressed that share structural features with those in their intermediate and vertebrate hosts (host-like glycans), including Le(X) (Galbeta1-4[Fucalpha1-3]GlcNAc-), LDNF (GalNAcbeta1-4[Fucalpha1-3]GlcNAc-), LDN (GalNAcbeta1-4GlcNAc-), and Tn (GalNAcalpha1-O-Thr/Ser) antigens. The expression of host-like glycan determinants is remarkable and suggests that helminths may gain advantages by synthesizing such glycans. The expression of host-like glycans by parasites previously led to the concept of "molecular mimicry," in which molecules are either derived from the pathogen or acquired from the host to evade recognition by the host immune system. However, recent discoveries into the potential of host glycan-binding proteins (GBPs), such as C-type lectin receptors and galectins, to functionally interact with various host-like helminth glycans provide new insights. Host GBPs through their interactions with worm-derived glycans participate in shaping innate and adaptive immune responses upon infection. We thus propose an alternative concept termed "glycan gimmickry," which is defined as an active strategy of parasites to use their glycans to target GBPs within the host to promote their survival.
Lambs vaccinated with Haemonchus contortus excretory/secretory (ES) glycoproteins in combination with the adjuvant Alhydrogel are protected against H. contortus challenge infection. Using glycan micro-array analysis we showed that serum from such vaccinated lambs contains IgG antibodies that recognise the glycan antigen Galalpha1-3GalNAc-R and GalNAcbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAc-R. Our studies revealed that H. contortus glycoproteins contain Galalpha1-3Gal-R as well as significant levels of Galalpha1-3GalNAc-R, which has not been previously reported. Extracts from H. contortus adult worms contain a galactosyltransferase acting on glycan substrates with a terminal GalNAc, indicating that the worms possess the enzymatic potential to synthesise terminal Gal-GalNAc moieties. These data illustrate that glycan micro-arrays constitute a promising technology for fast and specific analysis of serum anti-glycan antibodies in vaccination studies. In addition, this approach facilitates the discovery of novel, antigenic parasite glycan antigens that may have potential for developing glycoconjugate vaccines or utilization in diagnostics.
We report herein a new and enabling approach for decorating both abiotic and cell surfaces with the extracellular matrix IKVAV peptide in a site-specific manner using strain promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition. A cyclooctyne-derivatized IKVAV peptide was synthesized and immobilized on the surface of pancreatic islets through strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition with cell surface azides generated by the electrostatic adsorption of a cytocompatible poly(L-lysine)-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLL-g-PEG) copolymer bearing azido groups (PP-N(3)). Both "one-pot" and sequential addition of PP-N(3) and a cyclooctyne-derivatized IKVAV peptide conjugate enabled efficient modification of the pancreatic islet surface in less than 60 min. The ability to bind peptides at controlled surface densities was demonstrated in a quantitative manner using microarrays. Additionally, the technique is remarkably rapid and highly efficient, opening new avenues for the molecular engineering of cellular interfaces and protein and peptide microarrays.
Cosmc is a molecular chaperone thought to be required for expression of active T-synthase, the only enzyme that galactosylates the Tn antigen (GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr-R) to form core 1 Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr (T antigen) during mucin type O-glycan biosynthesis. Here we show that ablation of the X-linked Cosmc gene in mice causes embryonic lethality and Tn antigen expression. Loss of Cosmc is associated with loss of T-synthase but not other enzymes required for glycoprotein biosynthesis, demonstrating that Cosmc is specific in vivo for the T-synthase. We generated genetically mosaic mice with a targeted Cosmc deletion and survivors exhibited abnormalities correlated with Tn antigen expression that are related to several human diseases.
Galectin-1 (Gal-1) is important in immune function and muscle regeneration, but its expression and localization in adult tissues and primary leukocytes remain unclear. To address this, we generated a specific monoclonal antibody against Gal-1, termed alphahGal-1, and defined a sequential peptide epitope that it recognizes, which is preserved in human and porcine Gal-1, but not in murine Gal-1. Using alphahGal-1, we found that Gal-1 is expressed in a wide range of porcine tissues, including striated muscle, liver, lung, brain, kidney, spleen, and intestine. In most types of cells, Gal-1 exhibits diffuse cytosolic expression, but in cells within the splenic red pulp, Gal-1 showed both cytosolic and nuclear localization. Gal-1 was also expressed in arterial walls and exhibited prominent cytosolic and nuclear staining in cultured human endothelial cells. However, human peripheral leukocytes and promyelocytic HL60 cells lack detectable Gal-1 and also showed very low levels of Gal-1 mRNA. In striking contrast, Gal-1 exhibited an organized cytosolic staining pattern within striated muscle tissue of cardiac and skeletal muscle and colocalized with sarcomeric actin on I bands. These results provide insights into previously defined roles for Gal-1 in inflammation, immune regulation and muscle biology.
The T-synthase is the key beta 3-galactosyltransferase essential for biosynthesis of core 1 O-glycans (Gal beta 1-3GalNAc alpha 1-Ser/Thr) in animal cell glycoproteins. Here we describe the novel ability of an endoplasmic reticulum-localized molecular chaperone termed Cosmc to specifically interact with partly denatured T-synthase in vitro to cause partial restoration of activity. By contrast, a mutated form of Cosmc observed in patients with Tn syndrome has reduced chaperone function. The chaperone activity of Cosmc is specific, does not require ATP in vitro, and is effective toward T-synthase but not another beta-galactosyltransferase. Cosmc represents the first ER chaperone identified to be required for folding of a glycosyltransferase.
In this note, we demonstrate the utility of bifunctional fluorescent linkers to facilitate the construction of peptide microarrays with either an N- or a C-terminal alkylamine for directionally preferred peptide immobilization. Significantly, these small tags facilitate high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) profiling while limiting interference with antigen-antibody interactions after peptide immobilization. In a model peptide-antibody binding assay, a sequence-dependent orientation effect of antibody binding to a series of peptide ligands was demonstrated. This approach provides a strategy that can be applied to a variety of peptide microarray-based detection systems.
Mucin type O-glycosylation involves sequential actions of several glycosyltransferases in the Golgi apparatus. Among those enzymes, a single gene product termed core 1 beta3-galactosyltransferase (T-synthase) in vertebrates is the key enzyme that converts the precursor Tn antigen GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr to the core 1 structure, Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr, also known as T antigen. This represents the most common structure within typical O-glycans of membrane and secreted glycoproteins. Formation of the active T-synthase requires that it interacts with Core 1 beta3Gal-T Specific Molecular Chaperone (Cosmc), which is a specific molecular chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). T-synthase activity is commonly measured by its ability to transfer [3H]Gal from UDP-[3H]Gal to an artificial acceptor GalNAcalpha-1-O-phenyl to form [3H]Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha-1-O-phenyl, which can then be isolated and quantified. Because the primary function of Cosmc is to form active T-synthase, the activity of Cosmc is assessed indirectly by its ability to promote formation of active T-synthase when it is coexpressed with T-synthase in cells lacking functional Cosmc. Such cells include insect cells, which constitutively lack Cosmc, and Cosmc-deficient mammalian cell lines. Cosmc is encoded by the X-linked Cosmc gene (Xq24 in human, Xc3 in mice), thus, acquired mutations in Cosmc, which have been observed in several human diseases, such as Tn syndrome and cancers, cause a loss of T-synthase, and expression of the Tn antigen. The methods described here allow the functional activities of such mutated Cosmc (mCosmc) to be measured and compared to wild-type (wtCosmc).
Endoglycan is a mucin-like glycoprotein expressed by endothelial cells and some leukocytes and is recognized by L-selectin, a C-type lectin important in leukocyte trafficking and extravasation during inflammation. Here, we show that recombinant L-selectin and human T lymphocytes expressing L-selectin bind to synthetic glycosulfopeptides (GSPs). These synthetic glycosulfopeptides contain 37 amino acid residues modeled after the N-terminus of human endoglycan and contain one or two tyrosine sulfates (TyrSO(3)) along with a nearby core-2-based Thr-linked O-glycan with sialyl Lewis x (C2-SLe(x)). TyrSO(3) at position Y118 was more critical for binding than at Y97. C2-SLe(x) at T124 was required for L-selectin recognition. Interestingly, under similar conditions, neither L-selectin nor T lymphocytes showed appreciable binding to the sulfated carbohydrate epitope 6-sulfo-SLe(x). P-selectin also bound to endoglycan-based GSPs but with lower affinity than toward GSPs modeled after PSGL-1, the physiological ligand for P- and L-selectin that is expressed on leukocytes. These results demonstrate that TyrSO(3) residues in association with a C2-SLe(x) moiety within endoglycan and PSGL-1 are preferentially recognized by L-selectin.
The expression of ABO(H) blood group antigens causes deletion of cells that generate self-specific antibodies to these antigens but this deletion limits adaptive immunity toward pathogens bearing cognate blood group antigens. To explore potential defense mechanisms against such pathogens, given these limitations in adaptive immunity, we screened for innate proteins that could recognize human blood group antigens. Here we report that two innate immune lectins, galectin-4 (Gal-4) and Gal-8, which are expressed in the intestinal tract, recognize and kill human blood group antigen-expressing Escherichia coli while failing to alter the viability of other E. coli strains or other Gram-negative or Gram-positive organisms both in vitro and in vivo. The killing activity of both Gal-4 and Gal-8 is mediated by their C-terminal domains, occurs rapidly and independently of complement and is accompanied by disruption of membrane integrity. These results demonstrate that innate defense lectins can provide immunity against pathogens that express blood group-like antigens on their surface.
Incomplete or aberrant glycosylation leading to Tn antigen (GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr) expression on human glycoproteins is strongly associated with human pathological conditions, including tumors, certain autoimmune diseases, such as the idiopathic IgA nephropathy, and may modulate immune homeostasis. In addition, the Tn antigen is highly expressed by certain pathogens and plays a role in host-pathogen interactions. To enable experimental approaches to study interactions of the Tn antigen with the immune system and analyze anti-Tn antibody responses in infection or disorders, we generated a Tn-expressing resource that can be used for high-throughput screening. In consideration of IgA nephropathy in which the hinge region is incompletely glycosylated, we used this hinge sequence that encodes five potential glycosylation sites as the ideal template for the synthesis of a Tn antigen-expressing glycopeptide. Inclusion of an N-terminal biotin in the peptide enabled binding to streptavidin-coated ELISA plates as monitored using Helix pomatia agglutinin or anti-Tn monoclonal antibody. We also found that the biotinylated IgA-Tn peptide is a functional acceptor for beta1-3-galactosylation using recombinant T-synthase (beta1-3-galactosyltransferase). Besides its immunochemical functionality as a possible diagnostic tool for IgA nephropathy, the peptide is an excellent substrate for glycan elongation and represents a novel template applicable for glycan-antigen-associated diseases.
Selectins (L, E, and P) are vascular endothelial molecules that play an important role in the recruitment of leukocytes to inflamed tissue. In this regard, P-Selectin glycoprotein-1 (PSGL-1) has been identified as a ligand for P-Selectin. PSGL-1 binds to P-Selectin through the interaction of core-2 O-glycan expressing sialyl Lewis(x) oligosaccharide and the three tyrosine sulfate residues. Herein, we report the synthesis of threonine-linked core-2 O-glycan as an amino acid building block for the synthesis of PSGL-1. This building block was further incorporated in the Fmoc-assisted solid-phase peptide synthesis to provide a portion of the PSGL-1 glycopeptide.
CD52 is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored glycopeptide antigen found on sperm cells and human lymphocytes. Recent structural studies indicate that sperm-associated CD52 antigen carries both a complex type N-glycan and an O-glycan on the polypeptide backbone. To facilitate functional and immunological studies of distinct CD52 glycoforms, we report in this paper the first chemoenzymatic synthesis of homogeneous CD52 glycoforms carrying both N- and O-glycans. The synthetic strategy consists of two key steps: monosaccharide primers GlcNAc and GalNAc were first installed at the pre-determined N- and O-glycosylation sites by a facile solid-phase peptide synthesis, and then the N- and O-glycans were extended by respective enzymatic glycosylations. It was found that the endoglycosidase-catalyzed transglycosylation allowed efficient attachment of an intact N-glycan in a single step at the N-glycosylation site, while the recombinant human T-synthase could independently extend the O-linked GalNAc to form the core 1 O-glycan. This chemoenzymatic approach is highly convergent and permits easy construction of various homogeneous CD52 glycoforms from a common polypeptide precursor. In addition, the introduction of a latent thiol group in the form of protected cysteamine at the C-terminus of the CD52 glycoforms will enable site-specific conjugation to a carrier protein to provide immunogens for generating CD52 glycoform-specific antibodies for functional studies.
Development of glycan microarray technologies have recently revealed many new features in the binding specificities of glycan-binding proteins (GBPs) including animal and plant lectins, antibodies, toxins, and pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. Printed glycan microarrays are very sensitive, robust, and require very small quantities of glycans and GBPs. However, glycan arrays have been limited mostly to chemoenzymatically synthesized oligosaccharides and N-glycans isolated from natural glycoproteins. O-Glycans and more complex glycoconjugates, such as glycopeptides or whole cells, are generally lacking from most types of glycan microarrays. Certain GBPs such as selectins, that have more complex binding specificity, require peptide components besides the glycan structure for high-affinity binding to the ligand. GBP binding assays on glycan microarrays will provide only partial information about the specificity and high-affinity ligands for those GBPs. Therefore, more "natural" glycoconjugate arrays are required to study more complex GBP-glycoconjugate interactions. We have utilized a simple fluorescence-based solid-phase assay on a microplate format to study GBP-glycoconjugate interactions. The method utilizes commercial streptavidin-coated microplates, where various biotinylated ligands, such as glycopeptides, oligosaccharides, and whole cells, can be immobilized at a defined density. The binding of GBPs to immobilized ligands can be studied using fluorescently labeled GBPs or cells, or bound GBPs can be detected using fluorescently labeled anti-GBP antibodies. Our approach utilizing biotinylated and fixed cells in a solid-phase assay is a versatile method to study binding of GBPs to natural cell-surface glycoconjugates. Not only mammalian cells, but also microorganisms can be biotinylated and fixed, and adhesion of fluorescently labeled GBPs and antibodies to immobilized cells can be studied using standard streptavidin-coated microplates. Here, we present examples of fluorescence-based solid-phase assays to study P- and L-selectin and galectin-1 binding to immobilized glycopeptides, oligosaccharides, and cells. It should be noted that with the availability of complex glycoconjugates containing available primary amine groups, such as semisynthetic glycopeptides described here, that these could also be printed on covalent microarrays for interrogation by GBPs.
Interaction of SIRPα with its ligand, CD47, regulates leukocyte functions, including transmigration, phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and cytokine secretion. Recent progress has provided significant insights into the structural details of the distal IgV domain (D1) of SIRPα. However, the structural roles of proximal IgC domains (D2 and D3) have been largely unstudied. The high degree of conservation of D2 and D3 among members of the SIRP family as well as the propensity of known IgC domains to assemble in cis has led others to hypothesize that SIRPα forms higher order structures on the cell surface. Here we report that SIRPα forms noncovalently linked cis homodimers. Treatment of SIRPα-expressing cells with a membrane-impermeable cross-linker resulted in the formation of SDS-stable SIRPα dimers and oligomers. Biochemical analyses of soluble recombinant extracellular regions of SIRPα, including domain truncation mutants, revealed that each of the three extracellular immunoglobulin loops of SIRPα formed dimers in solution. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments using cells transfected with different affinity-tagged SIRPα molecules revealed that SIRPα forms cis dimers. Interestingly, in cells treated with tunicamycin, SIRPα dimerization but not CD47 binding was inhibited, suggesting that a SIRPα dimer is probably bivalent. Last, we demonstrate robust dimerization of SIRPa in adherent, stimulated human neutrophils. Collectively, these data are consistent with SIRPα being expressed on the cell surface as a functional cis-linked dimer.
Microarrays of defined glycans represent a high throughput approach to determining the specificity of lectins, or more generally glycan-binding proteins (GBPs). The utility of a glycan microarray is directly related to the number and variety of the glycans available on the printed surface for interrogation by GBPs. The Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG), funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), has generated a glycan microarray available to the public as an investigator-driven resource, where hundreds of GBPs have been analyzed. Here we describe the methods generally used by the CFG to prepare glycan arrays and interrogate them with GBPs. We also describe our new approach to normalizing glycan microarray data derived from concentration-dependent analyses of GBP binding, and the application of this approach with the plant lectin Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA-I) and human galectin-8. The use of glycan microarrays with this approach readily generates a prediction of the glycan determinants required for high affinity binding by a GBP.