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Probing N‑Glycan Functions in Human Interleukin-17A Based on Chemically Synthesized Homogeneous Glycoforms

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journal contribution
posted on 12.02.2021, 19:35 authored by Hongxing Li, Jun Zhang, Chuanjing An, Suwei Dong
N-Glycosylation represents an essential type of posttranslational modification for proteins. However, deciphering the functions of N-glycosylation remains a challenge due to the lack of analytical and biochemical methods to accurately differentiate the protein glycoforms with various intact glycans. Here we report our synthesis and evaluation of homogeneously glycosylated interleukin-17A (IL-17A), based on a synthetic approach combining solid-phase synthesis of (glyco)­peptides, chemoenzymatic glycan modification on segments, and chemical ligations. The obtained homogeneous glycoproteins allow for the demonstration of the stabilizing role of N-glycans during the folding step. A comparison of three IL-17A glycoforms in a normal human dermal fibroblast (NHDF) assay reveals dose-dependent interleukin-6-inducing activities in all cases, wherein the glycoform with sialyl undecasaccharides displays much weaker stimulatory effect than that of the GlcNAc- or GlcNAc­(β1→4)­GlcNAc-modified proteins. Further surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectroscopic experiments confirm that the evaluated complex type N-glycan impedes the binding between IL-17A and its receptor IL-17RA. This structure–activity relationship study on glycoproteins highlights the viability of applying the de novo approach to probe the roles of N-glycans.

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