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Emergence and significance of carbohydrate-specific antibodies


Kappler, Katharina; Hennet, Thierry (2020). Emergence and significance of carbohydrate-specific antibodies. Genes and immunity, 21(4):224-239.

Abstract

Carbohydrate-specific antibodies are widespread among all classes of immunoglobulins. Despite their broad occurrence, little is known about their formation and biological significance. Carbohydrate-specific antibodies are often classified as natural antibodies under the assumption that they arise without prior exposure to exogenous antigens. On the other hand, various carbohydrate-specific antibodies, including antibodies to ABO blood group antigens, emerge after the contact of immune cells with the intestinal microbiota, which expresses a vast diversity of carbohydrate antigens. Here we explore the development of carbohydrate-specific antibodies in humans, addressing the definition of natural antibodies and the production of carbohydrate-specific antibodies upon antigen stimulation. We focus on the significance of the intestinal microbiota in shaping carbohydrate-specific antibodies not just in the gut, but also in the blood circulation. The structural similarity between bacterial carbohydrate antigens and surface glycoconjugates of protists, fungi and animals leads to the production of carbohydrate-specific antibodies protective against a broad range of pathogens. Mimicry between bacterial and human glycoconjugates, however, can also lead to the generation of carbohydrate-specific antibodies that cross-react with human antigens, thereby contributing to the development of autoimmune disorders.

Abstract

Carbohydrate-specific antibodies are widespread among all classes of immunoglobulins. Despite their broad occurrence, little is known about their formation and biological significance. Carbohydrate-specific antibodies are often classified as natural antibodies under the assumption that they arise without prior exposure to exogenous antigens. On the other hand, various carbohydrate-specific antibodies, including antibodies to ABO blood group antigens, emerge after the contact of immune cells with the intestinal microbiota, which expresses a vast diversity of carbohydrate antigens. Here we explore the development of carbohydrate-specific antibodies in humans, addressing the definition of natural antibodies and the production of carbohydrate-specific antibodies upon antigen stimulation. We focus on the significance of the intestinal microbiota in shaping carbohydrate-specific antibodies not just in the gut, but also in the blood circulation. The structural similarity between bacterial carbohydrate antigens and surface glycoconjugates of protists, fungi and animals leads to the production of carbohydrate-specific antibodies protective against a broad range of pathogens. Mimicry between bacterial and human glycoconjugates, however, can also lead to the generation of carbohydrate-specific antibodies that cross-react with human antigens, thereby contributing to the development of autoimmune disorders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Physiology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Immunology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Health Sciences > Genetics (clinical)
Language:English
Date:August 2020
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 15:16
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:26
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1466-4879
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41435-020-0105-9
PubMed ID:32753697

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