Bochner BS. Glycobiology. 2016 Jun;26(6):546-52. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cww024. Review. PMID: 26911285
As a physician-scientist, I have pursued research related to translational immunology with the goal of improving our ability to diagnose and treat allergic, immunologic and other diseases involving eosinophils, basophils and mast cells. We have tried to delineate novel mechanisms of human disease, working whenever possible with primary human cells and tissues, attempting to identify targets that might be amenable to the development of new therapies. As a general strategy, we have compared eosinophils, basophils, mast cells and neutrophils to look for pathways in inflammation that were unique to distinct subsets of these cells. In doing so, the concepts of glycobiology did not enter my mind until we began noticing some intriguing functional differences involving selectins and their ligands among these cell types. One simple observation, that neutrophils were coated with a glycan that allowed them to interact with an endothelial adhesion molecule while eosinophils lacked this structure, pried open the glyco-door for me. Fruitful collaborations with card-carrying glycobiologists soon followed that have forever positively influenced our science, and have enhanced our hypotheses, experimental design, research opportunities and discoveries. Within a few years, we helped to discover Siglec-8, an I-type lectin expressed only on human eosinophils, basophils, mast cells. This receptor, together with its closest mouse counterpart Siglec-F, has been the primary focus of our work now for over a decade. If not for those in the fields of glycobiology and glycoimmunology, my lab would not have made much progress toward the goal of leveraging Siglec-8 for therapeutic purposes.