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Murine Plasma N‑Glycosylation Traits Associated with Sex and Strain

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-08-22, 00:00 authored by Karli R. Reiding, Agnes L. Hipgrave Ederveen, Yoann Rombouts, Manfred Wuhrer
Glycosylation is an abundant and important protein modification with large influence on the properties and interactions of glycoconjugates. Human plasma N-glycosylation has been the subject of frequent investigation, revealing strong associations with physiological and pathological conditions. Less well-characterized is the plasma N-glycosylation of the mouse, the most commonly used animal model for studying human diseases, particularly with regard to differences between strains and sexes. For this reason, we used MALDI-TOF­(/TOF)-MS­(/MS) assisted by linkage-specific derivatization of the sialic acids to comparatively analyze the plasma N-glycosylation of both male and female mice originating from BALB/c, CD57BL/6, CD-1, and Swiss Webster strains. The combined use of this analytical method and the recently developed data processing software named MassyTools allowed the relative quantification of the N-glycan species within plasma, the distinction between α2,3- and α2,6-linked N-glycolylneuraminic acids (due to respective lactonization and ethyl esterification), the detection of sialic acid O-acetylation, as well as the characterization of branching sialylation (Neu5Gcα2,3-Hex-[Neu5Gcα2,6-]­HexNAc). When analyzing the glycosylation according to mouse sex, we found that female mice present a considerably higher degree of core fucosylation (2–4-fold depending on the strain), galactosylation, α2,6-linked sialylation, and larger high-mannose type glycan species compared with their male counterparts. Male mice, on the contrary, showed on average higher α2,3-linked sialylation, branching sialylation, and putative bisection. These differences together with sialic acid acetylation proved to be strain-specific as well. Interestingly, the outbred strains CD-1 and Swiss Webster displayed considerably larger interindividual variation than inbred strains BALB/c and CD57BL/6, suggesting a strong hereditable component of the observed plasma N-glycome.

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