Chemoenzymatic synthesis and Fcγ receptor binding of homogeneous glycoforms of antibody Fc domain. Presence of a bisecting sugar moiety enhances the affinity of Fc to FcγIIIa receptor

J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Nov 23;133(46):18975-91. doi: 10.1021/ja208390n. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Structurally well-defined IgG-Fc glycoforms are highly demanded for understanding the effects of glycosylation on an antibody's effector functions. We report in this paper chemoenzymatic synthesis and Fcγ receptor binding of an array of homogeneous IgG-Fc glycoforms. The chemoenzymatic approach consists of the chemical synthesis of defined N-glycan oxazolines as donor substrates, the expression of the Fc domain in a CHO cell line in the presence of an α-mannosidase inhibitor kifunensine, and an endoglycosidase-catalyzed glycosylation of the deglycosylated Fc domain (GlcNAc-Fc homodimer) with the synthetic glycan oxazolines. The enzyme from Arthrobacter protophormiae (Endo-A) was found to be remarkably efficient to take various modified N-glycan core oxazolines, including the bisecting sugar-containing derivatives, for Fc glycosylation remodeling, resulting in the formation of the corresponding homogeneous Fc glycoforms. Nevertheless, neither Endo-A nor the Mucor hiemalis endoglycosidase mutants (EndoM-N175A and EndoM-N175Q) were able to transfer full-length complex-type N-glycan to the Fc domain, implicating the limitations of these two enzymes in Fc glycosylation remodeling. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) binding studies with the synthetic IgG-Fc glycoforms unambiguously proved that the presence of a bisecting GlcNAc moiety could significantly enhance the binding of Fc to FcγRIIIa, the activating Fcγ receptor, independent of Fc core-fucosylation. Interestingly, the Fc glycoforms carrying an unusual bisecting sugar moiety such as a mannose or a LacNAc moiety also demonstrated enhanced affinity to FcγRIIIa. On the orther hand, the presence of a bisecting GlcNAc or core-fucosylation had little effect on the affinity of Fc to the inhibitory Fcγ receptor, FcγRIIb. Our experimental data also showed that the α-linked mannose residues in the pentasaccharide Man3GlcNAc2 core was essential to maintain a high affinity of Fc to both FcγRIIIa and FcγRIIb. The synthetic homogeneous Fc glycoforms thus provide a useful tool for elucidating how a fine Fc N-glycan structure precisely affects the function of the Fc domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / chemistry*
  • Antibodies / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / metabolism*
  • Lectins, C-Type / chemistry*
  • Mannose / chemistry*
  • Mannose / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxazoles / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry*
  • Receptors, IgG* / chemistry
  • Receptors, IgG* / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Oxazoles
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, IgG
  • glycoform specific receptor, human
  • Mannose