Toward a Better Understanding of the Basis of the Molecular Mimicry of Polysaccharide Antigens by Peptides

Unité de RMN des Biomolécules, URA CNRS 2185, Institut Pasteur, 28 Rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 01/2006; 281(4):2317-2332. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M510172200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Protein conjugates of oligosaccharides or peptides that mimic complex bacterial polysaccharide antigens represent alternatives
to the classical polysaccharide-based conjugate vaccines developed so far. Hence, a better understanding of the molecular
basis ensuring appropriate mimicry is required in order to design efficient carbohydrate mimic-based vaccines. This study
focuses on the following two unrelated sets of mimics of the Shigella flexneri 5a O-specific polysaccharide (O-SP): (i) a synthetic branched pentasaccharide known to mimic the average solution conformation
of S. flexneri 5a O-SP, and (ii) three nonapeptides selected upon screening of phage-displayed peptide libraries with two protective murine
monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) of the A isotype specific for S. flexneri 5a O-SP. By inducing anti-O-SP antibodies upon immunization in mice when appropriately presented to the immune system, the
pentasaccharide and peptides p100c and p115, but not peptide p22, were qualified as mimotopes of the native antigen. NMR studies
based on transferred NOE (trNOE) experiments revealed that both kinds of mimotopes had an average conformation when bound
to the mAbs that was close to that of their free form. Most interestingly, saturation transfer difference (STD) experiments
showed that the characteristic turn conformations adopted by the major conformers of p100c and p115, as well as of p22, are
clearly involved in mAb binding. These latter experiments also showed that the branched glucose residue of the pentasaccharide
was a key part of the determinant recognized by the protective mAbs. Finally, by using NMR-derived pentasaccharide and peptide
conformations coupled to STD information, models of antigen-antibody interaction were obtained. Most interestingly, only one
model was found compatible with experimental data when large O-SP fragments were docked into one of the mIgA-binding sites.
This newly made available system provides a new contribution to the understanding of the molecular mimicry of complex polysaccharides
by peptides and short oligosaccharides.

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    ABSTRACT: Synthetic functional mimics of the O-antigen from Shigella flexneri 2a are seen as promising vaccine components against endemic shigellosis. Herein, the influence of the polysaccharide non-stoichiometric di-O-acetylation on antigenicity is addressed for the first time. Three decasaccharides, representing relevant internal mono- and di-O-acetylation profiles of the O-antigen, were synthesized from a pivotal protected decasaccharide designed to tailor late stage site-selective O-acetylation. The latter was obtained via a convergent route involving the imidate glycosylation chemistry. Binding studies to five protective mIgGs showed that none of the acetates adds significantly to broad antibody recognition. Yet, one of the five antibodies had a unique pattern of binding. With IC50 in the micromolar to submicromolar range mIgG F22-4 exemplifies a remarkable tight binding antibody against diversely O-acetylated and non-O-acetylated fragments of a neutral polysaccharide of medical importance.
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular mimicry is fundamental to biology and transcends to many disciplines ranging from immune pathology to drug design. Structural characterization of molecular partners has provided insight into the origins and relative importance of complementarity in mimicry. Chemical complementarity is easy to understand; amino acid sequence similarity between peptides, for example, can lead to cross-reactivity triggering similar reactivity from their cognate receptors. However, conformational complementarity is difficult to decipher. Molecular mimicry of carbohydrates by peptides is often considered one of those. Extensive studies of innate and adaptive immune responses suggests the existence of carbohydrate mimicry, but the structural basis for this mimicry yields confounding details; peptides mimicking carbohydrates in some cases fail to exhibit both chemical and conformational mimicry. Deconvolution of these two types of complementarity in mimicry and its relationship to biological function can nevertheless lead to new therapeutics. Here, we discuss our experience examining the immunological aspects and implications of carbohydrate-peptide mimicry. Emphasis is placed on the rationale, the lessons learned from the methodologies to identify mimics, a perspective on the limitations of structural analysis, the biological consequences of mimicking tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens, and the notion of reverse engineering to develop carbohydrate-mimetic peptides in vaccine design strategies to induce responses to glycan antigens expressed on cancer cells.
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