Sialic acid (Sia) is a family of acidic nine-carbon sugars that occupies the nonreducing terminus of glycan chains. Diversity of Sia is achieved by variation in the linkage to the underlying sugar and modification of the Sia molecule. Here we identified Sia-dependent epitope specificity for GL7, a rat monoclonal antibody, to probe germinal centers upon T cell-dependent immunity. GL7 recognizes sialylated glycan(s), the α2,6-linked N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) on a lactosamine glycan chain(s), in both Sia modification- and Sia linkage-dependent manners. In mouse germinal center B cells, the expression of the GL7 epitope was upregulated due to the in situ repression of CMP-Neu5Ac hydroxylase (Cmah), the enzyme responsible for Sia modification of Neu5Ac to Neu5Gc. Such Cmah repression caused activation-dependent dynamic reduction of CD22 ligand expression without losing α2,6-linked sialylation in germinal centers. The in vivo function of Cmah was analyzed using gene-disrupted mice. Phenotypic analyses showed that Neu5Gc glycan functions as a negative regulator for B-cell activation in assays of T-cell-independent immunization response and splenic B-cell proliferation. Thus, Neu5Gc is required for optimal negative regulation, and the reaction is specifically suppressed in activated B cells, i.e., germinal center B cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology