Protein-carbohydrate interactions play essential roles in a variety of biological processes. This class of interactions is particularly important in development, immunology, infection, and carcinogenesis. However, the transient nature of glycan-dependent interactions hampers efforts to detect and characterize these complexes. Photocrosslinking is emerging as a powerful tool to discover and study glycan-dependent complexes. Through the use of photocrosslinking groups, UV irradiation can be employed to introduce a covalent bond between two transiently interacting molecules. Here we describe the use of metabolic oligosaccharide engineering to incorporate a photocrosslinkable sugar into cellular glycoconjugates and the use of this photocrosslinker to covalently capture glycan-mediated interactions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Terminal sialic acid residues often mediate the interactions of cell surface glycoconjugates. Sialic acid-dependent interactions typically exhibit rapid dissociation rates, precluding the use of traditional biological techniques for complex isolation. To stabilize these transient interactions, we employ a targeted photo-cross-linking approach in which a diazirine photo-cross-linker is incorporated into cell surface sialylated glycoconjugates through the use of metabolic oligosaccharide engineering. We describe three diazirine-modified N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc) analogues in which the length of the linker between the pyranose ring and the diazirine was varied. These analogues were each metabolized to their respective sialic acid counterparts, which were added to both glycoproteins and glycolipids. Diazirine-modified sialic acid analogues could be incorporated into both α2-3 and α2-6 linkages. Upon exposure to UV irradiation, diazirine-modified glycoconjugates were covalently cross-linked to their interaction partners. We demonstrate that all three diazirine-modified analogues were capable of competing with endogeneous sialic acid, albeit to varying degrees. We found that larger analogues were less efficiently metabolized, yet could still function as effective cross-linkers. Notably, the addition of the diazirine substituent interferes with metabolism of ManNAc analogues to glycans other than sialosides, providing fidelity to selectively incorporate the cross-linker into sialylated molecules. These compounds are nontoxic and display only minimal growth inhibition at the concentrations required for cross-linking studies. This report provides essential information for the deployment of photo-cross-linking analogues to capture and study ephemeral, yet essential, sialic acid-mediated interactions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a reversible posttranslational modification found on hundreds of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins in higher eukaryotes. Despite its ubiquity and essentiality in mammals, functional roles for the O-GlcNAc modification remain poorly defined. Here we develop a combined genetic and chemical approach that enables introduction of the diazirine photocrosslinker onto the O-GlcNAc modification in cells. We engineered mammalian cells to produce diazirine-modified O-GlcNAc by expressing a mutant form of UDP-GlcNAc pyrophosphorylase and subsequently culturing these cells with a cell-permeable, diazirine-modified form of GlcNAc-1-phosphate. Irradiation of cells with UV light activated the crosslinker, resulting in formation of covalent bonds between O-GlcNAc-modified proteins and neighboring molecules, which could be identified by mass spectrometry. We used this method to identify interaction partners for the O-GlcNAc-modified FG-repeat nucleoporins. We observed crosslinking between FG-repeat nucleoporins and nuclear transport factors, suggesting that O-GlcNAc residues are intimately associated with essential recognition events in nuclear transport. Further, we propose that the method reported here could find widespread use in investigating the functional consequences of O-GlcNAcylation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2012; 109(13):4834-9. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1114356109 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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