Glycan arrays are efficient tools leading to the discovery of therapeutic strategies. InnoScan analyses of glycan arrays enable to identify specific glycan interactions. With the development of antibiotic resistance, infections are harder to treat. According to the WHO, antimicrobial resistance is one of the current global health threat. Therefore, it is urgent to find novel drugs or vaccines.
Ubiquitous biopolymers for drug discovery and vaccine development
Glycans, or polysaccharides, are complex biomolecules composed of sugar units linked by glycosidic bounds. These biopolymers can be linear, branched or associated with lipids or proteins. Glycans are mainly present on cell surfaces such as virus capsules or surface receptors. They play key roles in biological and physiological processes such as cell adhesion, cell signaling or virus cell-entry.
Thus, glycan studies help in the drug discovery and vaccines development.
The MeSh defines glycomics as the study of glycan structures and functions of an organism. This field helps to identify functional interactions with glycans. Understanding glycan interactions with host cells or immune cells is essential for the development of novel therapeutics. Progress in glycan synthesis, coupled with automation development insure high-throughput technologies. Glycan arrays is one of these technologies, insuring high-performance glycan-bindings analysis.
High-throughput analysis of glycan bindings with fluorescent glycan arrays
The aim of glycan arrays is to immobilize hundreds of glycans on a miniaturized support. With samples incubation, the spotted glycans interact with pathogen cells or biomolecules present in blood. In a single experiment, glycan arrays simultaneously test thousands of binding events, providing high-throughput analysis of interactions. Detection methods, such as fluorescent molecules identify which glycans, are involved in the specific bindings and hence in the cell function.
Innopsys fluorescent scanners precisely detect fluorescence emissions and provide rapid and high-resolution identification of glycan bindings. The Innoscan 1100 is particularly adapted for glycan array analysis with a three-color detection and pixel size of up to 0.5µm.
Novel therapeutic strategies with glycan arrays
Glycan arrays help to detect specific interactions between pathogenic glycans and host cells, allowing to discover new therapeutic strategies. For example, reducing the pathogen glycan-host cell interactions is a strategy to prevent bacterial adherence or biofilm formation. The identification of interactions between glycans and immune cells, such as antibodies, is also interesting for vaccine development.
Glycan-based vaccines with glycan arrays
According to the WHO, vaccination against infectious pathogens with drug-resistance strains are a cost-effective alternative. The development of carbohydrate-based vaccines needs the identification of glycan epitopes. The latter are glycans from pathogen surface that elicit anti-glycan antibody responses. Glycan arrays can identify these epitopes, as peptide arrays for the development of synthetic vaccines. The identification of glycan epitopes leads to the construction of synthetic glycan-based vaccines, inducing a protective immune response. As for synthetic peptide vaccines, the interest of synthetic glycan vaccines is to reduce side effects and mutations. The conjugation of an immunogenic carrier protein with a glycan epitope can improve the immunogenicity of glycan-based vaccines.