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1.  The O-glycomap of Lubricin, a Novel Mucin Responsible for Joint Lubrication, Identified by Site-specific Glycopeptide Analysis* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2014;13(12):3396-3409.
The lubricative, heavily glycosylated mucin-like synovial glycoprotein lubricin has previously been observed to contain glycosylation changes related to rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Thus, a site-specific investigation of the glycosylation of lubricin was undertaken, in order to further understand the pathological mechanisms involved in these diseases. Lubricin contains an serine/threonine/proline (STP)-rich domain composed of imperfect tandem repeats (EPAPTTPK), the target for O-glycosylation. In this study, using a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry approach, employing both collision-induced and electron-transfer dissociation fragmentation methods, we identified 185 O-glycopeptides within the STP-rich domain of human synovial lubricin. This showed that adjacent threonine residues within the central STP-rich region could be simultaneously and/or individually glycosylated. In addition to core 1 structures responsible for biolubrication, core 2 O-glycopeptides were also identified, indicating that lubricin glycosylation may have other roles. Investigation of the expression of polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase genes was carried out using cultured primary fibroblast-like synoviocytes, a cell type that expresses lubricin in vivo. This analysis showed high mRNA expression levels of the less understood polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 15 and 5 in addition to the ubiquitously expressed polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 1 and 2 genes. This suggests that there is a unique combination of transferase genes important for the O-glycosylation of lubricin. The site-specific glycopeptide analysis covered 82% of the protein sequence and showed that lubricin glycosylation displays both micro- and macroheterogeneity. The density of glycosylation was shown to be high: 168 sites of O-glycosylation, predominately sialylated, were identified. These glycosylation sites were focused in the central STP-rich region, giving the domain a negative charge. The more positively charged lysine and arginine residues in the N and C termini suggest that synovial lubricin exists as an amphoteric molecule. The identification of these unique properties of lubricin may provide insight into the important low-friction lubricating functions of lubricin during natural joint movement.
PMCID: PMC4256492  PMID: 25187573
2.  MIRAGE: The minimum information required for a glycomics experiment 
Glycobiology  2014;24(5):402-406.
The MIRAGE (minimum information required for a glycomics experiment) initiative was founded in Seattle, WA, in November 2011 in order to develop guidelines for reporting the qualitative and quantitative results obtained by diverse types of glycomics analyses, including the conditions and techniques that were applied to prepare the glycans for analysis and generate the primary data along with the tools and parameters that were used to process and annotate this data. These guidelines must address a broad range of issues, as glycomics data are inherently complex and are generated using diverse methods, including mass spectrometry (MS), chromatography, glycan array-binding assays, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other rapidly developing technologies. The acceptance of these guidelines by scientists conducting research on biological systems in which glycans have a significant role will facilitate the evaluation and reproduction of glycomics experiments and data that is reported in scientific journals and uploaded to glycomics databases. As a first step, MIRAGE guidelines for glycan analysis by MS have been recently published (Kolarich D, Rapp E, Struwe WB, Haslam SM, Zaia J., et al. 2013. The minimum information required for a glycomics experiment (MIRAGE) project – Improving the standards for reporting mass spectrometry-based glycoanalytic data. Mol. Cell Proteomics. 12:991–995), allowing them to be implemented and evaluated in the context of real-world glycobiology research. In this paper, we set out the historical context, organization structure and overarching objectives of the MIRAGE initiative.
PMCID: PMC3976285  PMID: 24653214
3.  Toolboxes for a standardised and systematic study of glycans 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(Suppl 1):S9.
Recent progress in method development for characterising the branched structures of complex carbohydrates has now enabled higher throughput technology. Automation of structure analysis then calls for software development since adding meaning to large data collections in reasonable time requires corresponding bioinformatics methods and tools. Current glycobioinformatics resources do cover information on the structure and function of glycans, their interaction with proteins or their enzymatic synthesis. However, this information is partial, scattered and often difficult to find to for non-glycobiologists.
Following our diagnosis of the causes of the slow development of glycobioinformatics, we review the "objective" difficulties encountered in defining adequate formats for representing complex entities and developing efficient analysis software.
Various solutions already implemented and strategies defined to bridge glycobiology with different fields and integrate the heterogeneous glyco-related information are presented.
Despite the initial stage of our integrative efforts, this paper highlights the rapid expansion of glycomics, the validity of existing resources and the bright future of glycobioinformatics.
PMCID: PMC4016020  PMID: 24564482
4.  Structural Identification of O-Linked Oligosaccharides Using Exoglycosidases and MSn Together with UniCarb-DB Fragment Spectra Comparison 
Metabolites  2012;2(4):648-666.
The availability of specific exoglycosidases alongside a spectral library of O-linked oligosaccharide collision induced dissociation (CID) MS fragments, UniCarb-DB, provides a pathway to make the elucidation of O-linked oligosaccharides more efficient. Here, we advise an approach of exoglycosidase-digestion of O-linked oligosaccharide mixtures, for structures that do not provide confirmative spectra. The combination of specific exoglycosidase digestion and MS2 matching of the exoglycosidase products with structures from UniCarb-DB, allowed the assignment of unknown structures. This approach was illustrated by treating sialylated core 2 O-linked oligosaccharides, released from the human synovial glycoprotein (lubricin), with a α2–3 specific sialidase. This methodology demonstrated the exclusive 3 linked nature of the sialylation of core 2 oligosaccharides on lubricin. When specific exoglycosidases were not available, MS3 spectral matching using standards was used. This allowed the unusual 4-linked terminal GlcNAc epitope in a porcine stomach to be identified in the GlcNAc1-4Galβ1–3(GlcNAcβ1-6)GalNAcol structure, indicating the antibacterial epitope GlcNAcα1–4. In total, 13 structures were identified using exoglycosidase and MSn, alongside UniCarb-DB fragment spectra comparison. UniCarb-DB could also be used to identify the specificity of unknown exoglycosidases in human saliva. Endogenous salivary exoglycosidase activity on mucin oligosaccharides could be monitored by comparing the generated tandem MS spectra with those present in UniCarb-DB, showing that oral exoglycosidases were dominated by sialidases with a higher activity towards 3-linked sialic acid rather than 6-linked sialic acid.
PMCID: PMC3901228  PMID: 24957756
mass spectrometry; exoglycosidases; mucin; glycomics
5.  The tumour-associated glycoprotein podoplanin is expressed in fibroblast-like synoviocytes of the hyperplastic synovial lining layer in rheumatoid arthritis 
Activated fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) share many characteristics with tumour cells and are key mediators of synovial tissue transformation and joint destruction. The glycoprotein podoplanin is upregulated in the invasive front of several human cancers and has been associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition, increased cell migration and tissue invasion. The aim of this study was to investigate whether podoplanin is expressed in areas of synovial transformation in RA and especially in promigratory RA-FLS.
Podoplanin expression in human synovial tissue from 18 RA patients and nine osteoarthritis (OA) patients was assessed by immunohistochemistry and confirmed by Western blot analysis. The expression was related to markers of synoviocytes and myofibroblasts detected by using confocal immunofluoresence microscopy. Expression of podoplanin, with or without the addition of proinflammatory cytokines and growth factors, in primary human FLS was evaluated by using flow cytometry.
Podoplanin was highly expressed in cadherin-11-positive cells throughout the synovial lining layer in RA. The expression was most pronounced in areas with lining layer hyperplasia and high matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression, where it coincided with upregulation of α-smooth muscle actin (α-sma). The synovium in OA was predominantly podoplanin-negative. Podoplanin was expressed in 50% of cultured primary FLSs, and the expression was increased by interleukin 1β, tumour necrosis factor α and transforming growth factor β receptor 1.
Here we show that podoplanin is highly expressed in FLSs of the invading synovial tissue in RA. The concomitant upregulation of α-sma and podoplanin in a subpopulation of FLSs indicates a myofibroblast phenotype. Proinflammatory mediators increased the podoplanin expression in cultured RA-FLS. We conclude that podoplanin might be involved in the synovial tissue transformation and increased migratory potential of activated FLSs in RA.
PMCID: PMC3132020  PMID: 21385358
6.  Deleted in Malignant Brain Tumors-1 Protein (DMBT1): A Pattern Recognition Receptor with Multiple Binding Sites 
Deleted in Malignant Brain Tumors-1 protein (DMBT1), salivary agglutinin (DMBT1SAG), and lung glycoprotein-340 (DMBT1GP340) are three names for glycoproteins encoded by the same DMBT1 gene. All these proteins belong to the scavenger receptor cysteine-rich (SRCR) superfamily of proteins: a superfamily of secreted or membrane-bound proteins with SRCR domains that are highly conserved down to sponges, the most ancient metazoa. In addition to SRCR domains, all DMBT1s contain two CUB domains and one zona pellucida domain. The SRCR domains play a role in the function of DMBT1s, which is the binding of a broad range of pathogens including cariogenic streptococci, Helicobacter pylori and HIV. Mucosal defense proteins like IgA, surfactant proteins and lactoferrin also bind to DMBT1s through their SRCR domains. The binding motif on the SRCR domains comprises an 11-mer peptide in which a few amino acids are essential for binding (GRVEVLYRGSW). Adjacent to each individual SRCR domain are glycosylation domains, where the attached carbohydrate chains play a role in the binding of influenza A virus and Helicobacter pylori. The composition of the carbohydrate chains is not only donor specific, but also varies between different organs. These data demonstrate a role for DMBT1s as pattern recognition molecules containing various peptide and carbohydrate binding motifs.
PMCID: PMC3100851  PMID: 21614203
dental caries; innate immunity; mucosal protection; SRCR domains

Results 1-6 (6)