A Miniaturized Glycan Microarray Assay for Assessing Avidity and Specificity of Influenza A Virus Hemagglutinins

McBride R, Paulson JC, de Vries RP. J Vis Exp. 2016 May 29;(111). doi: 10.3791/53847. PMID: 27284789

Influenza A virus (IAV) hemagglutinins recognize sialic acids on the cell surface as functional receptors to gain entry into cells. Wild waterfowl are the natural reservoir for IAV, but IAV can cross the species barrier to poultry, swine, horses and humans. Avian viruses recognize sialic acid attached to a penultimate galactose by a α2-3 linkage (avian-type receptors) whereas human viruses preferentially recognize sialic acid with a α2-6 linkage (human-type receptors). To monitor if avian viruses are adapting to human type receptors, several methods can be used. Glycan microarrays with diverse libraries of synthetic sialosides are increasingly used to evaluate receptor specificity. However, this technique is not used for measuring avidities. Measurement of avidity is typically achieved by evaluating the binding of serially diluted hemagglutinin or virus to glycans adsorbed to conventional polypropylene 96-well plates. In this assay, glycans with α2-3 or α2-6 sialic acids are coupled to biotin and adsorbed to streptavidin plates, or are coupled to polyacrylamide (PAA) which directly adsorb to the plastic. We have significantly miniaturized this assay by directly printing PAA-linked sialosides and their non PAA-linked counterparts on micro-well glass slides. This set-up, with 48 arrays on a single slide, enables simultaneous assays of 6 glycan binding proteins at 8 dilutions, interrogating 6 different glycans, including two non-sialylated controls. This is equivalent to 18x 96-well plates in the traditional plate assay. The glycan array format decreases consumption of compounds and biologicals and thus greatly enhances efficiency.