Early Detection Research Network

Global comparisons of lectin-glycan interactions using a database of analyzed glycan array data.

Lectin-glycan interactions have critical functions in multiple normal and pathological processes, but the binding partners and functions for many glycans and lectins are not known. An important step in better understanding glycan-lectin biology is enabling systematic quantification and analysis of the interactions. Glycan arrays can provide the experimental information for such analyses, and the thousands of glycan array datasets available through the Consortium for Functional Glycomics provide the opportunity to extend the analyses to a broad scale. We developed software, based on our previously described Motif Segregation algorithm, for the automated analysis of glycan array data, and we analyzed the entire storehouse of 2883 datasets from the Consortium for Functional Glycomics. We mined the resulting database to make comparisons of specificities across multiple lectins and comparisons between glycans in their lectin receptors. Of the lectins in the database, viral lectins were the most different from other organism types, with specificities nearly always restricted to sialic acids, and mammalian lectins had the most diverse range of specificities. Certain mammalian lectins were unique in their specificities for sulfated glycans. Simple modifications to a lactosamine core structure radically altered the types of lectins that were highly specific for the glycan. Unmodified lactosamine was specifically recognized by plant, fungal, viral, and mammalian lectins; sialylation shifted the binding mainly to viral lectins; and sulfation resulted in mainly mammalian lectins with the highest specificities. We anticipate that this analysis program and database will be valuable in fundamental glycobiology studies, detailed analyses of lectin specificities, and practical applications in translational research.

Bern M, Haab BB, Kletter D, Singh S


Mol. Cell Proteomics, 2013, 12 (4)