Glycosylation involves the post-translational addition of carbohydrates to protein molecules and is an intricate and indispensable biochemical process. Study of this complicated network of interactions is hindered by the lack of a coding template analogous to the genetic code, and by the vast structural complexity inherent to carbohydrate polymers. We use lectins (non-enzymatic carbohydrate-binding proteins of non-immunological origin) as microarray probes to identify carbohydrate features expressed on cellular surfaces. Specifically, we utilized lectin microarray technology to investigate the differences in carbohydrates expressed by the cell lines of the Nation Cancer Institute’s NCI-60 panel. Our investigation identified tissue-specific expression differences in high-mannose N-linked glycans as a result of microRNA-based regulation of key processing enzymes in the N-linked biosynthetic pathway. Thus post-transcriptional regulation at the RNA level affects glycome characteristics.
Rakus, J. (2011, November). Using lectin microarrays to identify regulatory mechanisms for mammalian glycosylation. Invited lecture, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.