Microbial glycan microarrays define key features of host-microbial interactions.

Stowell SR, Arthur CM, McBride R, Berger O, Razi N, Heimburg-Molinaro J, Rodrigues LC, Gourdine JP, Noll AJ, von Gunten S, Smith DF, Knirel YA, Paulson JC, Cummings RD. (2014) Microbial glycan microarrays define key features of host-microbial interactions. Nat Chem Biol. 10(6):470-6. PMID: 24814672

Genomic approaches continue to provide unprecedented insight into the microbiome, yet host immune interactions with diverse microbiota can be difficult to study. We therefore generated a microbial microarray containing defined antigens isolated from a broad range of microbial flora to examine adaptive and innate immunity. Serological studies with this microarray show that immunoglobulins from multiple mammalian species have unique patterns of reactivity, whereas exposure of animals to distinct microbes induces specific serological recognition. Although adaptive immunity exhibited plasticity toward microbial antigens, immunological tolerance limits reactivity toward self. We discovered that several innate immune galectins show specific recognition of microbes that express self-like antigens, leading to direct killing of a broad range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive microbes. Thus, host protection against microbes seems to represent a balance between adaptive and innate immunity to defend against evolving antigenic determinants while protecting against molecular mimicry.

Link to journal: http://www.nature.com/nchembio/index.html