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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Sep 26;134(38):15732-42. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Density variant glycan microarray for evaluating cross-linking of mucin-like glycoconjugates by lectins.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States.


Interactions of mucin glycoproteins with cognate receptors are dictated by the structures and spatial organization of glycans that decorate the mucin polypeptide backbone. The glycan-binding proteins, or lectins, that interact with mucins are often oligomeric receptors with multiple ligand binding domains. In this work, we employed a microarray platform comprising synthetic glycopolymers that emulate natural mucins arrayed at different surface densities to evaluate how glycan valency and spatial separation affect the preferential binding mode of a particular lectin. We evaluated a panel of four lectins (Soybean agglutinin (SBA), Wisteria floribunda lectin (WFL), Vicia villosa-B-4 agglutinin (VVA), and Helix pomatia agglutin (HPA)) with specificity for α-N-acetylgalactosamine (α-GalNAc), an epitope displayed on mucins overexpressed in many adenocarcinomas. While these lectins possess the ability to agglutinate A(1)-blood cells carrying the α-GalNAc epitope and cross-link low valency glycoconjugates, only SBA showed a tendency to form intermolecular cross-links among the arrayed polyvalent mucin mimetics. These results suggest that glycopolymer microarrays can reveal discrete higher-order binding preferences beyond the recognition of individual glycan epitopes. Our findings indicate that glycan valency can set thresholds for cross-linking by lectins. More broadly, well-defined synthetic glycopolymers enable the integration of glycoconjugate structural and spatial diversity in a single microarray screening platform.

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