Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
Angiostatic cues from the matrix: Endothelial cell autophagy meets hyaluronan biologyThe extracellular matrix encompasses a reservoir of bioactive macromolecules that modulates a cornucopia of biological functions. A prominent body of work posits matrix constituents as master regulators of autophagy and angiogenesis and provides molecular insight into how these two processes are coordinated. Here, we review current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying hyaluronan and HAS2 regulation and the role of soluble proteoglycan in affecting autophagy and angiogenesis. Specifically, we assess the role of proteoglycan-evoked autophagy in regulating angiogenesis via the HAS2-hyaluronan axis and ATG9A, a novel HAS2 binding partner.
Fc γ receptor compositional heterogeneity: Considerations for immunotherapy developmentThe antibody-binding crystallizable fragment (Fc) γ receptors (FcγRs) are expressed by leukocytes and activate or suppress a cellular response once engaged with an antibody-coated target. Therapeutic mAbs that require FcγR binding for therapeutic efficacy are now frontline treatments for multiple diseases. However, substantially fewer development efforts are focused on the FcγRs, despite accounting for half of the antibody–receptor complex. The recent success of engineered cell-based immunotherapies now provides a mechanism to introduce modified FcγRs into the clinic.
Adaptation of influenza viruses to human airway receptorsThrough annual epidemics and global pandemics, influenza A viruses (IAVs) remain a significant threat to human health as the leading cause of severe respiratory disease. Within the last century, four global pandemics have resulted from the introduction of novel IAVs into humans, with components of each originating from avian viruses. IAVs infect many avian species wherein they maintain a diverse natural reservoir, posing a risk to humans through the occasional emergence of novel strains with enhanced zoonotic potential.
Redesigning plant cell walls for the biomass-based bioeconomyLignocellulosic biomass—the lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose that comprise major components of the plant cell well—is a sustainable resource that could be utilized in the United States to displace oil consumption from heavy vehicles, planes, and marine-going vessels and commodity chemicals. Biomass-derived sugars can also be supplied for microbial fermentative processing to fuels and chemicals or chemically deoxygenated to hydrocarbons. However, the economic value of biomass might be amplified by diversifying the range of target products that are synthesized in living plants.
Lipopolysaccharide O-antigens—bacterial glycans made to measureLipopolysaccharides are critical components of bacterial outer membranes. The more conserved lipid A part of the lipopolysaccharide molecule is a major element in the permeability barrier imposed by the outer membrane and offers a pathogen-associated molecular pattern recognized by innate immune systems. In contrast, the long-chain O-antigen polysaccharide (O-PS) shows remarkable structural diversity and fulfills a range of functions, depending on bacterial lifestyles. O-PS production is vital for the success of clinically important Gram-negative pathogens.
Uncovering the activities, biological roles, and regulation of bacterial cell wall hydrolases and tailoring enzymesBacteria account for 1000-fold more biomass than humans. They vary widely in shape and size. The morphological diversity of bacteria is due largely to the different peptidoglycan-based cell wall structures that encase bacterial cells. Although the basic structure of peptidoglycan is highly conserved, consisting of long glycan strands that are cross-linked by short peptide chains, the mature cell wall is chemically diverse. Peptidoglycan hydrolases and cell wall–tailoring enzymes that regulate glycan strand length, the degree of cross-linking, and the addition of other modifications to peptidoglycan are central in determining the final architecture of the bacterial cell wall.
Toward universal donor blood: Enzymatic conversion of A and B to O typeTransfusion of blood, or more commonly red blood cells (RBCs), is integral to health care systems worldwide but requires careful matching of blood types to avoid serious adverse consequences. Of the four main blood types, A, B, AB, and O, only O can be given to any patient. This universal donor O-type blood is crucial for emergency situations where time or resources for typing are limited, so it is often in short supply. A and B blood differ from the O type in the presence of an additional sugar antigen (GalNAc and Gal, respectively) on the core H-antigen found on O-type RBCs.
Trafficking and secretion of keratin 75 by ameloblasts in vivoA highly specialized cytoskeletal protein, keratin 75 (K75), expressed primarily in hair follicles, nail beds, and lingual papillae, was recently discovered in dental enamel, the most highly mineralized hard tissue in the human body. Among many questions this discovery poses, the fundamental question regarding the trafficking and secretion of this protein, which lacks a signal peptide, is of an utmost importance. Here, we present evidence that K75 is expressed during the secretory stage of enamel formation and is present in the forming enamel matrix.
A disease-associated mutation in fibrillin-1 differentially regulates integrin-mediated cell adhesionFibrillins serve as scaffolds for the assembly of elastic fibers that contribute to the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and regulate growth factor signaling in the extracellular space. Fibrillin-1 is a modular glycoprotein that includes 7 latent transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-binding protein-like (TB) domains and mediates cell adhesion through integrin binding to the RGD motif in its 4th TB domain. A subset of missense mutations within TB4 cause stiff skin syndrome (SSS), a rare autosomal dominant form of scleroderma.
Glycoengineering of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells to enforce E-selectin bindingTissue colonization (homing) by blood-borne cells critically hinges on the ability of the cells to adhere to vascular endothelium with sufficient strength to overcome prevailing hemodynamic shear stress. These adhesive interactions are most effectively engendered via binding of the endothelial lectin E-selectin (CD62E) to its cognate ligand, sialyl Lewis-X (sLeX), displayed on circulating cells. Although chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy holds promise for treatment of various hematologic and non-hematologic malignancies, there is essentially no information regarding the efficiency of CAR T-cell homing.
Nutrient regulation of signaling and transcriptionIn the early 1980s, while using purified glycosyltransferases to probe glycan structures on surfaces of living cells in the murine immune system, we discovered a novel form of serine/threonine protein glycosylation (O-linked β-GlcNAc; O-GlcNAc) that occurs on thousands of proteins within the nucleus, cytoplasm, and mitochondria. Prior to this discovery, it was dogma that protein glycosylation was restricted to the luminal compartments of the secretory pathway and on extracellular domains of membrane and secretory proteins.
The journey of hyaluronan research in the Journal of Biological ChemistryHyaluronan has a very simple structure. It is a linear glycosaminoglycan composed of disaccharide units of GlcNAc and d-glucuronic acid with alternating β-1,4 and β-1,3 glycosidic bonds that can be repeated 20,000 or more times, a molecular mass >8 million Da, and a length >20 μm. However, it has a very complex biology. It is a major, ubiquitous component of extracellular matrices involved in everything from fertilization, development, inflammations, to cancer. This JBC Review highlights some of these processes that were initiated through publications in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Synthetic biology strategies for improving microbial synthesis of “green” biopolymersPolysaccharide-based biopolymers have many material properties relevant to industrial and medical uses, including as drug delivery agents, wound-healing adhesives, and food additives and stabilizers. Traditionally, polysaccharides are obtained from natural sources. Microbial synthesis offers an attractive alternative for sustainable production of tailored biopolymers. Here, we review synthetic biology strategies for select “green” biopolymers: cellulose, alginate, chitin, chitosan, and hyaluronan.