Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- Thrombospondin type-1 repeats (TSRs) are small protein motifs containing six conserved cysteines forming three disulfide bonds that can be modified with an O-linked fucose. Protein O-fucosyltransferase 2 (POFUT2) catalyzes the addition of O-fucose to TSRs containing the appropriate consensus sequence, and the O-fucose modification can be elongated to a Glucose-Fucose disaccharide with the addition of glucose by β3-glucosyltransferase (B3GLCT). Elimination of Pofut2 in mice results in embryonic lethality in mice, highlighting the biological significance of O-fucose modification on TSRs.
- Myeloperoxidase (MPO) plays essential roles in neutrophil-mediated immunity via the generation of reactive oxidation products. Complex carbohydrates decorate MPO at discrete sites, but their functional relevance remains elusive. To this end, we have characterised the structure–biosynthesis–activity relationship of neutrophil MPO (nMPO). Mass spectrometry demonstrated that nMPO carries both characteristic under-processed and hyper-truncated glycans. Occlusion of the Asn355/Asn391-glycosylation sites and the Asn323-/Asn483-glycans, located in the MPO dimerisation zone, was found to affect the local glycan processing, thereby providing a molecular basis of the site-specific nMPO glycosylation.
- Skp1, a subunit of E3 Skp1/Cullin-1/F-box protein ubiquitin ligases, is modified by a prolyl hydroxylase that mediates O2 regulation of the social amoeba Dictyostelium and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The full effect of hydroxylation requires modification of the hydroxyproline by a pentasaccharide that, in Dictyostelium, influences Skp1 structure to favor assembly of Skp1/F-box protein subcomplexes. In Toxoplasma, the presence of a contrasting penultimate sugar assembled by a different glycosyltransferase enables testing of the conformational control model.
- Galectins compose a protein family defined by a conserved sequence motif conferring affinity for β-galactose–containing glycans. Moreover, galectins gain higher affinity and fine-tune specificity by glycan interactions at sites adjacent to their β-galactoside–binding site, as revealed by extensive testing against panels of purified glycans. However, in cells, galectins bind glycans on glycoproteins and glycolipids in the context of other cellular components, such as at the cell surface. Because of difficulties in characterizing natural cellular environments, we currently lack a detailed understanding of galectin-binding specificities in the cellular context.
- Skp1 is a conserved protein linking cullin-1 to F-box proteins in SCF (Skp1/Cullin-1/F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligases, which modify protein substrates with polyubiquitin chains that typically target them for 26S proteasome-mediated degradation. In Dictyostelium (a social amoeba), Toxoplasma gondii (the agent for human toxoplasmosis), and other protists, Skp1 is regulated by a unique pentasaccharide attached to hydroxylated Pro-143 within its C-terminal F-box–binding domain. Prolyl hydroxylation of Skp1 contributes to O2-dependent Dictyostelium development, but full glycosylation at that position is required for optimal O2 sensing.
- Corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) delivers anti-inflammatory cortisol to inflamed tissues upon elastase-based proteolysis of the exposed reactive center loop (RCL). However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the RCL proteolysis by co-existing host and bacterial elastases in inflamed/infected tissues remain unknown. We document that RCL-localized Asn347 glycosylation fine-tunes the RCL cleavage rate by human neutrophil elastase (NE) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase (PAE) by different mechanisms.
- Interactions between chemokines such as CCL5 and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are essential for creating haptotactic gradients to guide the migration of leukocytes into inflammatory sites, and the GAGs that interact with CCL5 with the highest affinity are heparan sulfates/heparin. The interaction between CCL5 and its receptor on monocytes, CCR1, is mediated through residues Arg-17 and -47 in CCL5, which overlap with the GAG-binding 44RKNR47 “BBXB” motifs. Here we report that heparin and tetrasaccharide fragments of heparin are able to inhibit CCL5-CCR1 binding, with IC50 values showing strong dependence on the pattern and extent of sulfation.