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3 Publications

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    03/25/19 | The mucin-selective protease StcE enables molecular and functional analysis of human cancer-associated mucins
    Malaker SA, Pedram K, Ferracane MJ, Bensing BA, Krishnan V, Pett C, Yu J, Woods EC, Kramer JR, Westerlind U, Dorigo O, Bertozzi CR
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sep-04-2019;116(15):7278 - 7287. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1813020116

    Mucin domains are densely O-glycosylated modular protein domains that are found in a wide variety of cell surface and secreted proteins. Mucin-domain glycoproteins are known to be key players in a host of human diseases, especially cancer, wherein mucin expression and glycosylation patterns are altered. Mucin biology has been difficult to study at the molecular level, in part, because methods to manipulate and structurally characterize mucin domains are lacking. Here, we demonstrate that secreted protease of C1 esterase inhibitor (StcE), a bacterial protease from Escherichia coli, cleaves mucin domains by recognizing a discrete peptide- and glycan-based motif. We exploited StcE's unique properties to improve sequence coverage, glycosite mapping, and glycoform analysis of recombinant human mucins by mass spectrometry. We also found that StcE digests cancer-associated mucins from cultured cells and from ascites fluid derived from patients with ovarian cancer. Finally, using StcE, we discovered that sialic acid-binding Ig-type lectin-7 (Siglec-7), a glycoimmune checkpoint receptor, selectively binds sialomucins as biological ligands, whereas the related receptor Siglec-9 does not. Mucin-selective proteolysis, as exemplified by StcE, is therefore a powerful tool for the study of mucin domain structure and function.

     

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    01/07/19 | Quantitative Super-Resolution Microscopy of the Mammalian Glycocalyx
    Möckl L, Pedram K, Roy AR, Krishnan V, Gustavsson A, Dorigo O, Bertozzi CR, Moerner W
    Developmental Cell. Jan-07-2019;50(1):57 - 72.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.04.035

    The mammalian glycocalyx is a heavily glycosylated extramembrane compartment found on nearly every cell. Despite its relevance in both health and disease, studies of the glycocalyx remain hampered by a paucity of methods to spatially classify its components. We combine metabolic labeling, bioorthogonal chemistry, and super-resolution localization microscopy to image two constituents of cell-surface glycans, N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) and sialic acid, with 10–20 nm precision in 2D and 3D. This approach enables two measurements: glycocalyx height and the distribution of individual sugars distal from the membrane. These measurements show that the glycocalyx exhibits nanoscale organization on both cell lines and primary human tumor cells. Additionally, we observe enhanced glycocalyx height in response to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and to oncogenic KRAS activation. In the latter case, we trace increased height to an effector gene, GALNT7. These data highlight the power of advanced imaging methods to provide molecular and functional insights into glycocalyx biology.

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    01/06/19 | Physical Principles of Membrane Shape Regulation by the Glycocalyx
    Shurer CR, Kuo JC, Roberts LM, Gandhi JG, Colville MJ, Enoki TA, Pan H, Su J, Noble JM, Hollander MJ, O’Donnell JP, Yin R, Pedram K, Möckl L, Kourkoutis LF, Moerner W, Bertozzi CR, Feigenson GW, Reesink HL, Paszek MJ
    Cell. Jan-06-2019;177(7):1757 - 1770.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.017

    Cells bend their plasma membranes into highly curved forms to interact with the local environment, but how shape generation is regulated is not fully resolved. Here, we report a synergy between shape-generating processes in the cell interior and the external organization and composition of the cell-surface glycocalyxMucin biopolymers and long-chain polysaccharides within the glycocalyx can generate entropic forces that favor or disfavor the projection of spherical and finger-like extensions from the cell surface. A polymer brush model of the glycocalyx successfully predicts the effects of polymer size and cell-surface density on membrane morphologies. Specific glycocalyx compositions can also induce plasma membrane instabilities to generate more exotic undulating and pearled membrane structures and drive secretion of extracellular vesicles. Together, our results suggest a fundamental role for the glycocalyx in regulating curved membrane features that serve in communication between cells and with the extracellular matrix.

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