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J Biol Chem. 2012 Dec 28;287(53):44784-99. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.425819. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Functional glycomic analysis of human milk glycans reveals the presence of virus receptors and embryonic stem cell biomarkers.

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Department of Biochemistry and the Glycomics Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Human milk contains a large diversity of free glycans beyond lactose, but their functions are not well understood. To explore their functional recognition, here we describe a shotgun glycan microarray prepared from isolated human milk glycans (HMGs), and our studies on their recognition by viruses, antibodies, and glycan-binding proteins (GBPs), including lectins. The total neutral and sialylated HMGs were derivatized with a bifunctional fluorescent tag, separated by multidimensional HPLC, and archived in a tagged glycan library, which was then used to print a shotgun glycan microarray (SGM). This SGM was first interrogated with well defined GBPs and antibodies. These data demonstrated both the utility of the array and provided preliminary structural information (metadata) about this complex glycome. Anti-TRA-1 antibodies that recognize human pluripotent stem cells specifically recognized several HMGs that were then further structurally defined as novel epitopes for these antibodies. Human influenza viruses and Parvovirus Minute Viruses of Mice also specifically recognized several HMGs. For glycan sequencing, we used a novel approach termed metadata-assisted glycan sequencing (MAGS), in which we combine information from analyses of glycans by mass spectrometry with glycan interactions with defined GBPs and antibodies before and after exoglycosidase treatments on the microarray. Together, these results provide novel insights into diverse recognition functions of HMGs and show the utility of the SGM approach and MAGS as resources for defining novel glycan recognition by GBPs, antibodies, and pathogens.

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