Analysis of Asn-linked glycans from vegetable foodstuffs: widespread occurrence of Lewis a, core α1,3-linked fucose and xylose substitutions

Iain B. H. Wilson, Reinhard Zeleny, Daniel Kolarich, Erika Staudacher, Corné J. M. Stroop, Johannis P. Kamerling, Friedrich Altmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


The N-glycans from 27 "plant" foodstuffs, including one from a gymnospermic plant and one from a fungus, were prepared by a new procedure and examined by means of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). For several samples, glycan structures were additionally investigated by size-fractionation and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography in conjunction with exoglycosidase digests and finally also 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The glycans found ranged from the typical vacuolar "horseradish peroxidase" type and oligomannose to complex Lea-carrying structures. Though the common mushroom exclusively contained N-glycans of the oligomannosidic type, all plant foods contained mixtures of the above-mentioned types. Apple, asparagus, avocado, banana, carrot, celery, hazelnut, kiwi, onion, orange, pear, pignoli, strawberry, and walnut were particularly rich in Lea-carrying N-glycans. Although traces of Lea-containing structures were also present in almond, pistachio, potato, and tomato, no such glycans could be found in cauliflower. Coconut exhibited almost exclusively N-glycans containing only xylose but no fucose. Oligomannosidic N-glycans dominated in buckwheat and especially in the legume seeds mung bean, pea, peanut, and soybean. Papaya presented a unique set of hybrid type structures partially containing the Lea determinant. These results are not only compatible with the hypothesis that the carbohydrate structures are another potential source of immunological cross-reaction between different plant allergens, but they also demonstrate that the Lea-type structure is very widespread among plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • Lewis a
  • Plant glycoproteins


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