Characterization of N- and O-linked glycosylation changes in milk of the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) over lactation

Katherine Wongtrakul-Kish, Daniel Kolarich, Dana Pascovici, Janice L. Joss, Elizabeth Deane, Nicolle H. Packer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


As one of several biologically active compounds in milk, glycoproteins have been indicated to be involved in the protection of newborns from bacterial infection. As much of the physical and immune development of the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) young occurs during the early phases of lactation and not in utero, the tammar is a model species for the characterization of potential developmental support agents provided by maternal milk. In the present study, the N- and O-linked glycans from tammar wallaby milk glycoproteins from six individuals at different lactation time points were subjected to glycomics analyses using porous graphitized carbon liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Structural characterization identified a diverse range of glycan structures on wallaby milk glycoproteins including sialylated, sulphated, core fucosylated and O-fucosylated structures. 30 % of N-linked structures contained a core (α1-6) fucose. Several of these structures may play roles in development, and exhibit statistically significant temporal changes over the lactation period. The N-glycome was found to contain structures with NeuGc residues, while in contrast the O-glycome did not. O-fucosylated structures were identified in the early stages of lactation indicating a potential role in the early stages of development of the pouch young. Overall the results suggest that wallaby milk contains structures known to have developmental and immunological significance in human milk and reproduction in other animals, highlighting the importance of glycoproteins in milk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-536
Number of pages14
JournalGlycoconjugate Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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