Multi-isotype Glycoproteomic Characterization of Serum Antibody Heavy Chains Reveals Isotype-and Subclass-Specific N-Glycosylation Profiles

Chandler, K., et al. Multi-isotype Glycoproteomic Characterization of Serum Antibody Heavy Chains Reveals Isotype-and Subclass-Specific N-Glycosylation Profiles, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. VOLUME 18, NUMBER 4, 686-703

Antibodies are critical glycoproteins that bridge the innate and adaptive immune systems to provide protection against infection. The isotype/subclass of the antibody, the co-translational N-glycosylation on the CH2 domain, and the remodeling of the N-linked glycans during passage through the ER and Golgi are the known variables within the Fc domain that program antibody effector function. Through investigations of monoclonal therapeutics, it has been observed that addition or removal of specific monosaccharide residues from antibody N-glycans can influence the potency of antibodies, highlighting the importance of thoroughly characterizing antibody N-glycosylation. Although IgGs usually have a single N-glycosylation site and are well studied, other antibody isotypes, e.g. IgA and IgM, that are the first responders in certain diseases, have two to five sites/monomer of antibody, and little is known about their N-glycosylation. Here we employ a nLC-MS/MS method using stepped-energy higher energy collisional dissociation to characterize the N-glycan repertoire and site occupancy of circulating serum antibodies. We simultaneously determined the site-specific N-linked glycan repertoire for IgG1, IgG4, IgA1, IgA2, and IgM in individual healthy donors. Compared with IgG1, IgG4 displayed a higher relative abundance of G1S1F and a lower relative abundance of G1FB. IgA1 and IgA2 displayed mostly biantennary N-glycans. IgA2 variants with the either serine (S93) or proline (P93) were detected. In digests of the sera from a subset of donors, we detected an unmodified peptide containing a proline residue at position 93; this substitution would strongly disfavor N-glycosylation at N92. IgM sites N46, N209, and N272 displayed mostly complex glycans, whereas sites N279 and N439 displayed higher relative abundances of high-mannose glycoforms. This multi-isotype approach is a crucial step toward developing a platform to define disease-specific N-glycan signatures for different isotypes to help tune antibodies to induce protection. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD010911.

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