Density variant glycan microarray for evaluating cross-linking of mucin-like glycoconjugates by lectins

J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Sep 26;134(38):15732-42. doi: 10.1021/ja302193u. Epub 2012 Sep 12.


Interactions of mucin glycoproteins with cognate receptors are dictated by the structures and spatial organization of glycans that decorate the mucin polypeptide backbone. The glycan-binding proteins, or lectins, that interact with mucins are often oligomeric receptors with multiple ligand binding domains. In this work, we employed a microarray platform comprising synthetic glycopolymers that emulate natural mucins arrayed at different surface densities to evaluate how glycan valency and spatial separation affect the preferential binding mode of a particular lectin. We evaluated a panel of four lectins (Soybean agglutinin (SBA), Wisteria floribunda lectin (WFL), Vicia villosa-B-4 agglutinin (VVA), and Helix pomatia agglutin (HPA)) with specificity for α-N-acetylgalactosamine (α-GalNAc), an epitope displayed on mucins overexpressed in many adenocarcinomas. While these lectins possess the ability to agglutinate A(1)-blood cells carrying the α-GalNAc epitope and cross-link low valency glycoconjugates, only SBA showed a tendency to form intermolecular cross-links among the arrayed polyvalent mucin mimetics. These results suggest that glycopolymer microarrays can reveal discrete higher-order binding preferences beyond the recognition of individual glycan epitopes. Our findings indicate that glycan valency can set thresholds for cross-linking by lectins. More broadly, well-defined synthetic glycopolymers enable the integration of glycoconjugate structural and spatial diversity in a single microarray screening platform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Glycoconjugates / chemistry*
  • Lectins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Mimicry
  • Mucins / chemistry*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Lectins
  • Mucins
  • Polysaccharides