Sialic acids in the brain: gangliosides and polysialic acid in nervous system development, stability, disease, and regeneration.
ABSTRACT: Every cell in nature carries a rich surface coat of glycans, its glycocalyx, which constitutes the cell's interface with its environment. In eukaryotes, the glycocalyx is composed of glycolipids, glycoproteins, and proteoglycans, the compositions of which vary among different tissues and cell types. Many of the linear and branched glycans on cell surface glycoproteins and glycolipids of vertebrates are terminated with sialic acids, nine-carbon sugars with a carboxylic acid, a glycerol side-chain, and an N-acyl group that, along with their display at the outmost end of cell surface glycans, provide for varied molecular interactions. Among their functions, sialic acids regulate cell-cell interactions, modulate the activities of their glycoprotein and glycolipid scaffolds as well as other cell surface molecules, and are receptors for pathogens and toxins. In the brain, two families of sialoglycans are of particular interest: gangliosides and polysialic acid. Gangliosides, sialylated glycosphingolipids, are the most abundant sialoglycans of nerve cells. Mouse genetic studies and human disorders of ganglioside metabolism implicate gangliosides in axon-myelin interactions, axon stability, axon regeneration, and the modulation of nerve cell excitability. Polysialic acid is a unique homopolymer that reaches >90 sialic acid residues attached to select glycoproteins, especially the neural cell adhesion molecule in the brain. Molecular, cellular, and genetic studies implicate polysialic acid in the control of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, intermolecular interactions at cell surfaces, and interactions with other molecules in the cellular environment. Polysialic acid is essential for appropriate brain development, and polymorphisms in the human genes responsible for polysialic acid biosynthesis are associated with psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder. Polysialic acid also appears to play a role in adult brain plasticity, including regeneration. Together, vertebrate brain sialoglycans are key regulatory components that contribute to proper development, maintenance, and health of the nervous system.
Project description:Myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG, Siglec-4) is one of several endogenous axon regeneration inhibitors that limit recovery from central nervous system injury and disease. Molecules that block such inhibitors may enhance axon regeneration and functional recovery. MAG, a member of the Siglec family of sialic acid-binding lectins, binds to sialoglycoconjugates on axons and particularly to gangliosides GD1a and GT1b, which may mediate some of the inhibitory effects of MAG. In a prior study, we identified potent monovalent sialoside inhibitors of MAG using a novel screening platform. In the current study, the most potent of these were tested for their ability to reverse MAG-mediated inhibition of axon outgrowth from rat cerebellar granule neurons in vitro. Monovalent sialoglycans enhanced axon regeneration in proportion to their MAG binding affinities. The most potent glycoside was disialyl T antigen (NeuAcalpha2-3Galbeta1-3[NeuAcalpha2-6]GalNAc-R), followed by 3-sialyl T antigen (NeuAcalpha2-3Galbeta1-3GalNAc-R), structures expressed on O-linked glycoproteins as well as on gangliosides. Prior studies indicated that blocking gangliosides reversed MAG inhibition. In the current study, blocking O-linked glycoprotein sialylation with benzyl-alpha-GalNAc had no effect. The ability to reverse MAG inhibition with monovalent glycosides encourages further exploration of glycans and glycan mimetics as blockers of MAG-mediated axon outgrowth inhibition.
Project description:Gangliosides, sialic acid-bearing glycosphingolipids, are expressed on all vertebrate cells, and are the major glycans on nerve cells. They are anchored to the plasma membrane through their ceramide lipids with their varied glycans extending into the extracellular space. Through sugar-specific interactions with glycan-binding proteins on apposing cells, gangliosides function as receptors in cell-cell recognition, regulating natural killer cell cytotoxicity via Siglec-7, myelin-axon interactions via Siglec-4 (myelin-associated glycoprotein), and inflammation via E-selectin. Gangliosides also interact laterally in their own membranes, regulating the responsiveness of signaling proteins including the insulin, epidermal growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptors. In these ways, gangliosides act as regulatory elements in the immune system, in the nervous system, in metabolic regulation, and in cancer progression.
Project description:Sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglec)-like domains of streptococcal serine-rich repeat (SRR) adhesins recognize sialylated glycans on human salivary, platelet, and plasma glycoproteins via a YTRY sequence motif. The SRR adhesin from Streptococcus sanguinis strain SK1 has tandem sialoglycan-binding domains and has previously been shown to bind sialoglycans with high affinity. However, both domains contain substitutions within the canonical YTRY motif, making it unclear how they interact with host receptors. To identify how the S. sanguinis strain SK1 SRR adhesin affects interactions with sialylated glycans and glycoproteins, we determined high-resolution crystal structures of the binding domains alone and with purified trisaccharides. These structural studies determined that the ligands still bind at the noncanonical binding motif, but with fewer hydrogen-bonding interactions to the protein than is observed in structures of other Siglec-like adhesins. Complementary biochemical studies identified that each of the two binding domains has a different selectivity profile. Interestingly, the binding of SK1 to platelets and plasma glycoproteins identified that the interaction to some host targets is dominated by the contribution of one binding domain, whereas the binding to other host receptors is mediated by both binding domains. These results provide insight into outstanding questions concerning the roles of tandem domains in targeting host receptors and suggest mechanisms for how pathogens can adapt to the availability of a range of related but nonidentical host receptors. They further suggest that the definition of the YTRY motif should be changed to ?TRX, a more rigorous description of this sialic acid-recognition motif given recent findings.
Project description:Mammalian brains are highly enriched with sialoglycans, which have been implicated in brain development and disease progression. However, in vivo labeling and visualization of sialoglycans in the mouse brain remain a challenge because of the blood-brain barrier. Here we introduce a liposome-assisted bioorthogonal reporter (LABOR) strategy for shuttling 9-azido sialic acid (9AzSia), a sialic acid reporter, into the brain to metabolically label sialoglycoconjugates, including sialylated glycoproteins and glycolipids. Subsequent bioorthogonal conjugation of the incorporated 9AzSia with fluorescent probes via click chemistry enabled fluorescence imaging of brain sialoglycans in living animals and in brain sections. Newly synthesized sialoglycans were found to widely distribute on neuronal cell surfaces, in particular at synaptic sites. Furthermore, large-scale proteomic profiling identified 140 brain sialylated glycoproteins, including a wealth of synapse-associated proteins. Finally, by performing a pulse-chase experiment, we showed that dynamic sialylation is spatially regulated, and that turnover of sialoglycans in the hippocampus is significantly slower than that in other brain regions. The LABOR strategy provides a means to directly visualize and monitor the sialoglycan biosynthesis in the mouse brain and will facilitate elucidating the functional role of brain sialylation.
Project description:Siglecs are sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectins that recognize sialoglycans via amino-terminal V-set domains. CD33-related Siglecs (CD33rSiglecs) on innate immune cells recognize endogenous sialoglycans as "self-associated molecular patterns" (SAMPs), dampening immune responses via cytosolic immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motifs that recruit tyrosine phosphatases. However, sialic acid-expressing pathogens subvert this mechanism through molecular mimicry. Meanwhile, endogenous host SAMPs must continually evolve to evade other pathogens that exploit sialic acids as invasion targets. We hypothesized that these opposing selection forces have accelerated CD33rSiglec evolution. We address this by comparative analysis of major CD33rSiglec (Siglec-3, Siglec-5, and Siglec-9) orthologs in humans, chimpanzees, and baboons. Recombinant soluble molecules displaying ligand-binding domains show marked quantitative and qualitative interspecies differences in interactions with strains of the sialylated pathogen, group B Streptococcus, and with sialoglycans presented as gangliosides or in the form of sialoglycan microarrays, including variations such as N-glycolyl and O-acetyl groups. Primate Siglecs also show quantitative and qualitative intra- and interspecies variations in expression patterns on leukocytes, both in circulation and in tissues. Taken together our data explain why the CD33rSiglec-encoding gene cluster is undergoing rapid evolution via multiple mechanisms, driven by the need to maintain self-recognition by innate immune cells, while escaping 2 distinct mechanisms of pathogen subversion.
Project description:Sialylated N-glycans play essential roles in the immune system, pathogen recognition and cancer. This review approaches the sialylation of N-glycans from three perspectives. The first section focuses on the sialyltransferases that add sialic acid to N-glycans. Included in the discussion is a description of these enzymes' glycan acceptors, conserved domain organization and sequences, molecular structure and catalytic mechanism. In addition, we discuss the protein interactions underlying the polysialylation of a select group of adhesion and signaling molecules. In the second section, the biosynthesis of sialic acid, CMP-sialic acid and sialylated N-glycans is discussed, with a special emphasis on the compartmentalization of these processes in the mammalian cell. The sequences and mechanisms maintaining the sialyltransferases and other glycosylation enzymes in the Golgi are also reviewed. In the final section, we have chosen to discuss processes in which sialylated glycans, both N- and O-linked, play a role. The first part of this section focuses on sialic acid-binding proteins including viral hemagglutinins, Siglecs and selectins. In the second half of this section, we comment on the role of sialylated N-glycans in cancer, including the roles of ?1-integrin and Fas receptor N-glycan sialylation in cancer cell survival and drug resistance, and the role of these sialylated proteins and polysialic acid in cancer metastasis.
Project description:Current methods for analyzing sialic acid diversity in modifications and linkages require multistep processing, derivatization, and chromatographic analyses. We here report a single-step optical method for identification and quantification of different compositions of sialoglycans on glycoproteins and in serum. This was achieved by measuring and quantifying nanometal surface energy transfer (NSET) signals between quantum dots and gold nanoparticles bound to specific sialic acid binding proteins (SBPs) and sialic acid moieties, respectively. The biosensing process is based on the NSET turn-on by external sialic acid species that compete for binding to the SBPs. Selectivity of the biosensor toward sialoglycans can be designed to detect the total amount, glycosylation linkages (?2-6 vs ?2-3), and modifications (9-O-acetyl and N-glycolyl groups) in the samples. This nanobiosensor is a prototype expected to achieve limits of the detection down to the micromolar range for high-throughput quantification and analysis of different compositions of sialoglycans present in biological or biomedical samples.
Project description:Specific sugar residues and their linkages form the basis of molecular recognition for interactions of glycoproteins with other biomolecules. Seemingly small changes, like the addition of a single monosaccharide in the covalently attached glycan component of glycoproteins, can greatly affect these interactions. For instance, the sialic acid capping of glycans affects protein-ligand binding involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. CD44 is a single-pass transmembrane glycoprotein whose binding with its carbohydrate ligand hyaluronan (HA), an extracellular matrix component, mediates processes such as leukocyte homing, cell adhesion, and tumor metastasis. This binding is highly regulated by glycosylation of the N-terminal extracellular hyaluronan-binding domain (HABD); specifically, sialic acid capped N-glycans of HABD inhibit ligand binding. However, the molecular mechanism behind this sialic acid mediated regulation has remained unknown. Two of the five N-glycosyation sites of HABD have been previously identified as having the greatest inhibitory effect on HA binding, but only if the glycans contain terminal sialic acid residues. These two sites, Asn25 and Asn120, were chosen for in silico glycosylation in this study. Here, from extensive standard molecular dynamics simulations and biased simulations, we propose a molecular mechanism for this behavior based on spontaneously-formed charge-paired hydrogen bonding interactions between the negatively-charged sialic acid residues and positively-charged Arg sidechains known to be critically important for binding to HA, which itself is negatively charged. Such intramolecular hydrogen bonds would preclude associations critical to hyaluronan binding. This observation suggests how CD44 and related glycoprotein binding is regulated by sialylation as cellular environments fluctuate.
Project description:Polysialic acid is a linear homopolymer of ?2-8-linked sialic acids attached mainly onto glycoproteins. Cell surface polysialic acid plays roles in cell adhesion and differentiation events in a manner that is often dependent on the degree of polymerization (DP). Anti-oligo/polysialic acid antibodies have DP-dependent antigenic specificity, and such antibodies are widely utilized in biological studies for detecting and distinguishing between different oligo/polysialic acids. A murine monoclonal antibody mAb735 has a unique preference for longer polymers of polysialic acid (DP >10), yet the mechanism of recognition at the atomic level remains unclear. Here, we report the crystal structure of mAb735 single chain variable fragment (scFv735) in complex with octasialic acid at 1.8 Å resolution. In the asymmetric unit, two scFv735 molecules associate with one octasialic acid. In both complexes of the unit, all the complementarity-determining regions except for L3 interact with three consecutive sialic acid residues out of the eight. A striking feature of the complex is that 11 ordered water molecules bridge the gap between antibody and ligand, whereas the direct antibody-ligand interaction is less extensive. The dihedral angles of the trisialic acid unit directly interacting with scFv735 are not uniform, indicating that mAb735 does not strictly favor the previously proposed helical conformation. Importantly, both reducing and nonreducing ends of the bound ligand are completely exposed to solvent. We suggest that mAb735 gains its apparent high affinity for a longer polysialic acid chain by recognizing every three sialic acid units in a paired manner.
Project description:Gangliosides - sialic acid-bearing glycolipids - are major cell surface determinants on neurons and axons. The same four closely related structures, GM1, GD1a, GD1b and GT1b, comprise the majority of total brain gangliosides in mammals and birds. Gangliosides regulate the activities of proteins in the membranes in which they reside, and also act as cell-cell recognition receptors. Understanding the functions of major brain gangliosides requires knowledge of their tissue distribution, which has been accomplished in the past using biochemical and immunohistochemical methods. Armed with new knowledge about the stability and accessibility of gangliosides in tissues and new IgG-class specific monoclonal antibodies, we investigated the detailed tissue distribution of gangliosides in the adult mouse brain. Gangliosides GD1b and GT1b are widely expressed in gray and white matter. In contrast, GM1 is predominately found in white matter and GD1a is specifically expressed in certain brain nuclei/tracts. These findings are considered in relationship to the hypothesis that gangliosides GD1a and GT1b act as receptors for an important axon-myelin recognition protein, myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG). Mediating axon-myelin interactions is but one potential function of the major brain gangliosides, and more detailed knowledge of their distribution may help direct future functional studies.