Issue Date: October 19, 2009
Trimming Sugars Yields Better Flu Antibodies
Truncating the sugar chains attached to an influenza protein leads to antibodies that can better bind to and neutralize the virus, reports a group led by Che Ma and Chi-Huey Wong at Academia Sinica, in Taiwan (Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909696106). The team investigated the glycosylation of influenza hemagglutinin (HA), a glycoprotein on the viral coat that enables the virus to enter respiratory-tract cells by binding to glycan receptors. The team compared normally glycosylated HA with HA that was enzymatically pared down in three ways: to remove just the sialic acid groups from the sugar chains, to leave a high proportion of mannose groups, and to truncate the sugar chains so that just a single N-acetylglucosamine remained at each glycosylation site. The researchers found that antibodies raised against the N-acetylglucosamine-only protein showed better binding affinity and neutralization activity against the influenza virus than antibodies raised against fully glycosylated HA. The results may point toward a new strategy for making vaccines against influenza and other viruses, the authors say.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
- Copyright © American Chemical Society