Natural Antibodies Against Sialoglycans

Top Curr Chem. 2015:366:169-81. doi: 10.1007/128_2013_469.


Natural antibodies, part of the innate immunity system, are produced at strictly regulated levels in normal sera without immunization and thus are part of the innate immune system. The best studied natural antibodies are those directed against blood group antigens A and B and xeno-antigens including glycolylneuraminic acid containing Hanganutziu-Deicher (HD) glycolipid. Abnormal levels of anti-glycan antibodies were found in a number of pathologies. In many cases pathological antibodies are known to bind gangliosides. The genesis of anti-glycan antibodies in healthy humans and the reasons for their changes in pathologies are poorly understood. With a growing interest in their diagnostic applications, it is important to determine the carbohydrate structures that are recognized by antibodies present in the circulation of healthy individuals. We tested a large number of healthy donors using a printed glycan array (PGA) in a microchip format. The PGA contained ~300 glycans, representing mostly normal mammalian structures of glycoproteins and glycolipids, and many of the structures presented are biologically relevant sialylated motifs. As revealed by PGA, the sera interacted with at least 70 normal human glycans. With only few exceptions, antibodies recognizing sialosides have not been identified. Moderate levels of antibodies and moderate variability were observed in the case of SiaT n and its glycolyl variant. Unexpectedly, we found minimal antibody titer directed against Neu5Gcα and the trisaccharide Neu5Gcα2-6Galβ1-4GlcNAc, although this form of neuraminic acid does not occur naturally in humans. Antibodies recognizing sialosides in unnatural β-configuration have been detected and confirmed Springer's paradigm that circulating antibodies represent a reaction against bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria contain LPS with βKDN and/or βKDO which are very close analogs of Neu5Ac that are found in β-connected form. Antibodies against the biantennary N-glycan chain, (Neu5Acα2-6Galβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-2Manα)2-3,6-Manβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-4GlcNAc were never observed and similarly we never saw antibodies directed against the SiaLe(a)/SiaLe (x) motifs. Anti-sialoglycan antibodies can be masked with gangliosides: for example, we observe about a five times higher level of anti-GD3 in purified total IgG compared to the same concentration of total Ig in the composition of native serum. For several antibodies we observed anomalous binding in diluted sera, namely, the signals towards sialylated glycans were increased in the PGA if diluted sera were used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Heterophile / blood*
  • Antibodies, Heterophile / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Heterophile / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Binding Sites, Antibody
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Gangliosides / blood*
  • Gangliosides / chemistry
  • Gangliosides / immunology
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligosaccharides / blood*
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Oligosaccharides / immunology
  • Protein Binding


  • Antibodies, Heterophile
  • Gangliosides
  • Glycoproteins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Oligosaccharides
  • sialooligosaccharides
  • ganglioside, GD3