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IMM colloquium by prof. Geert-Jan Boons (Utrecht University) (Lecture)

Tuesday 26 October 2021Add to my calendar
from 16:00
prof. Geert-Jan Boons (Dept.of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, Utrecht University)

Geert-Jan BoonsAll most all eukaryotic cell surface and secreted proteins are modified by covalently-linked glycans which are essential mediators of biological processes such as protein folding, cell signaling, fertilization, embryogenesis, and the proliferation of cells and their organization into specific tissues. Overwhelming data supports the relevance of glycosylation in pathogen recognition, inflammation, innate immune responses, the development of autoimmune diseases, and cancer.  It has, however, been difficult to explore biological properties of individual glycans because these bio-molecules are not readily available. To address this challenge, we have developed chemo-enzymatic methodologies that make it possible to prepare large collections of highly complex glycans found on cells of interest. The approaches were employed to prepare a collection of glycans found on the upper airway of humans that were printed as a microarray to probe receptor specificities of respiratory viruses employ glycans for infection. To validate the array data, cell surface engineering strategies were developed to place synthetic glycans on the surface of cells for gain of function studies. The technological platform made it possible to examine the evolution of receptor specificities of infleunza H3N2 virus, and implement new surveillance strategies.

Broszeit, F., van Beek, R.J., Unione, L. et al. Glycan remodeled erythrocytes facilitate antigenic characterization of recent A/H3N2 influenza viruses. Nat. Commun 12, 5449 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25713-1

Liu, L., Prudden, A.R., Capicciotti, C.J. et al. Streamlining the chemoenzymatic synthesis of complex N-glycans by a stop and go strategy. Nat. Chem 11, 161–169 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-018-0188-3

Thomas Boltje