Unique repertoire of anti-carbohydrate antibodies in individual human serum

Ralph N.D. Luetscher, Tanya R. McKitrick, Chao Gao, Akul Y. Mehta, Alyssa M. McQuillan, Robert Kardish, Kayluz Frias Boligan, Xuezheng Song, Lenette Lu, Jamie Heimburg-Molinaro, Stephan von Gunten, Galit Alter, Richard D. Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Humoral immunity to pathogens and other environmental challenges is paramount to maintain normal health, and individuals lacking or unable to make antibodies are at risk. Recent studies indicate that many human protective antibodies are against carbohydrate antigens; however, little is known about repertoires and individual variation of anti-carbohydrate antibodies in healthy individuals. Here we analyzed anti-carbohydrate antibody repertoires (ACARs) of 105 healthy individual adult donors, aged 20–60+ from different ethnic backgrounds to explore variations in antibodies, as defined by binding to glycan microarrays and by affinity purification. Using microarrays that contained > 1,000 glycans, including antigens from animal cells and microbes, we profiled the IgG and IgM ACARs from all donors. Each donor expressed many ACAs, but had a relatively unique ACAR, which included unanticipated antibodies to carbohydrate antigens not well studied, such as chitin oligosaccharides, Forssman-related antigens, globo-type antigens, and bacterial glycans. We also saw some expected antibodies to ABO(H) blood group and α-Gal-type antigens, although these also varied among individuals. Analysis suggests differences in ACARs are associated with ethnicity and age. Thus, each individual ACAR is relatively unique, suggesting that individualized information could be useful in precision medicine for predicting and monitoring immune health and resistance to disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15436
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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