Specific sialoforms required for the immune suppressive activity of human soluble CD52

Abdulrahman Shathili, Esther Bandala-Sanchez, Alan John, Ethan D. Goddard-Borger, Morten Thaysen-Andersen, Arun V. Everest-Dass, Timothy E. Adams, Leonard C. Harrison*, Nicolle H. Packer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Human CD52 is a small glycopeptide (12 amino acid residues) with one N-linked glycosylation site at asparagine 3 (Asn3) and several potential O-glycosylation serine/threonine sites. Soluble CD52 is released from the surface of activated T cells and mediates immune suppression via its glycan moiety. In suppressing activated T cells, it first sequesters the pro-inflammatory high mobility group Box 1 (HMGB1) protein, which facilitates its binding to the inhibitory sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-10 (Siglec-10) receptor. We aimed to identify the features of CD52 glycan that underlie its bioactivity. Analysis of native CD52 purified from human spleen revealed extensive heterogeneity in N-glycosylation and multi-antennary sialylated N-glycans with abundant polyLacNAc extensions, together with mainly di-sialylated O-glycosylation type structures. Glycomic (porous graphitized carbon-ESI-MS/MS) and glycopeptide (C8-LC-ESI-MS) analysis of recombinant soluble human CD52-immunoglobulin Fc fusion proteins revealed that CD52 bioactivity was correlated with a high abundance of tetra-antennary α-2,3/6 sialylated N-glycans. Removal of α-2,3 sialylation abolished bioactivity, which was restored by re-sialylation with α-2,3 sialyltransferases. When glycoforms of CD52-Fc were fractionated by anion exchange MonoQ-GL chromatography, bioactive fractions displayed mainly tetra-antennary, α-2,3 sialylated N-glycan structures and a lower relative abundance of bisecting GlcNAc structures compared to non-bioactive fractions. In addition, O-glycan core type-2 di-sialylated structures at Ser12 were more abundant in bioactive CD52 fractions. Understanding the structural features of CD52 glycan required for its bioactivity will aid its development as an immunotherapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1967
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • CD52
  • immune suppression
  • glycan structure
  • analysis
  • tetra-antennary
  • α-2,3 sialylation


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