Glycan-Based Cell Targeting To Modulate Immune Responses

T. Johannssen, B. Lepenies
Glycosylation is an integral post-translational modification present in more than half of all eukaryotic proteins. It affects key protein functions, including folding, stability, and immunogenicity. Glycoengineering approaches, such as the use of bacterial N-glycosylation systems, or expression systems, including yeasts, insect cells, and mammalian cells, have enabled access to defined and homogenous glycoproteins. Given that glycan structures on proteins can be recognized by host lectin receptors, they may facilitate cell-specific targeting and immune modulation. Myeloid C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) expressed by antigen-presenting cells are attractive targets to shape immune responses. Multivalent glycan display on nanoparticles, liposomes, or dendrimers has successfully enabled CLR targeting. In this review, we discuss novel strategies to access defined glycan structures and highlight CLR targeting approaches for immune modulation. Trends Biotechnol. 2017 Apr;35(4):334-346. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 27.