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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distinct glycan structures of uroplakins Ia and Ib: structural basis for the selective binding of FimH adhesin to uroplakin Ia.

Although it has been shown that mouse uroplakin (UP) Ia, a major glycoprotein of urothelial apical surface, can serve as the receptor for the FimH lectin adhesin of type 1-fimbriated Escherichia coli, the organism that causes a great majority of urinary tract infections, the glycan structure of this native receptor was unknown. Using a sensitive approach that combines in-gel glycosidase and protease digestions, permethylation of released glycans, and mass spectrometry, we have elucidated for the first time the native glycoform structures of the mouse UPIa receptor and those of its non-binding homolog, UPIb, and have determined the glycosylation site occupancy. UPIa presents a high level of terminally exposed mannose residues (located on Man(6)GlcNAc(2) to Man(9)GlcNAc(2)) that are capable of specifically interacting with FimH. We have shown that this property is conserved not only in the mouse uroplakins but also in cattle and, even more importantly, in human UPIa, thus establishing the concept that UPIa is a major urothelial receptor in humans and other mammals for the mannose-specific FimH variant. In contrast, our results indicate that most terminally exposed glycans of mouse UPIb are non-mannose residues, thus explaining the failure of FimH to bind to this UPIb. In cattle, on the other hand, complex carbohydrates constituted only about 20% of the UPIb N-linked glycans. Human UPIa contained exclusively high mannose glycans, and human UPIb contained only complex glycans. The drastically different carbohydrate processing of the UPIa and UPIb proteins, two closely related members of the tetraspanin family, may reflect differences in their folding and masking due to their interactions with their associated proteins, UPII and UPIIIa, respectively. Results from this study shed light on the molecular pathogenesis of urinary tract infections and may aid in the design of glyco-mimetic inhibitors for preventing and treating this disease.[1]


  1. Distinct glycan structures of uroplakins Ia and Ib: structural basis for the selective binding of FimH adhesin to uroplakin Ia. Xie, B., Zhou, G., Chan, S.Y., Shapiro, E., Kong, X.P., Wu, X.R., Sun, T.T., Costello, C.E. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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