Palma, A. S., Liu, Y., Zhang, H., Zhang, Y., McCleary, B. V., Yu, G., . . . Chai, W. (2015). Unravelling glucan recognition systems by glycome microarrays using the designer approach and mass spectrometry. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M115.048272
Glucans are polymers of d-glucose with differing linkages in linear or branched sequences. They are constituents of microbial and plant cell-walls and involved in important bio-recognition processes, including immunomodulation, anticancer activities, pathogen virulence, and plant cell-wall biodegradation. Translational possibilities for these activities in medicine and biotechnology are considerable. High-throughput micro-methods are needed to screen proteins for recognition of specific glucan sequences as a lead to structure-function studies and their exploitation. We describe construction of a “glucome” microarray, the first sequence-defined glycome-scale microarray, using a “designer” approach from targeted ligand-bearing glucans in conjunction with a novel high-sensitivity mass spectrometric sequencing method, as a screening tool to assign glucan recognition motifs. The glucome microarray comprises 153 oligosaccharide probes with high purity, representing major sequences in glucans. Negative-ion electrospray tandem mass spectrometry with collision-induced dissociation was used for complete linkage analysis of gluco-oligosaccharides in linear “homo” and “hetero” and branched sequences. The system is validated using antibodies and carbohydrate-binding modules known to target α- or β-glucans in different biological contexts, extending knowledge on their specificities, and applied to reveal new information on glucan recognition by two signaling molecules of the immune system against pathogens: Dectin-1 and DC-SIGN. The sequencing of the glucan oligosaccharides by the MS method and their interrogation on the microarrays provides detailed information on linkage, sequence and chain length requirements of glucan-recognizing proteins, and are a sensitive means of revealing unsuspected sequences in the polysaccharides.