Tsetse salivary glycoproteins are modified with paucimannosidic N-glycans, are recognised by C-type lectins and bind to trypanosomes

Radoslaw P. Kozak, Karina Mondragon-Shem, Christopher Williams, Clair Rose, Samirah Perally, Guy Caljon, Jan Van Den Abbeele, Katherine Wongtrakul-Kish, Richard Gardner, Daniel Spencer, Michael J. Lehane, Alvaro Acosta-Serrano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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African sleeping sickness is caused by Trypanosoma brucei, a parasite transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly. Trypanosome infection induces a severe transcriptional downregulation of tsetse genes encoding for salivary proteins, which reduces its anti-hemostatic and anti-clotting properties. To better understand trypanosome transmission and the possible role of glycans in insect bloodfeeding, we characterized the N-glycome of tsetse saliva glycoproteins. Tsetse salivary N-glycans were enzymatically released, tagged with either 2-aminobenzamide (2-AB) or procainamide, and analyzed by HILIC-UHPLC-FLR coupled online with positive-ion ESI-LC-MS/MS. We found that the N-glycan profiles of T. brucei-infected and naïve tsetse salivary glycoproteins are almost identical, consisting mainly (>50%) of highly processed Man3GlcNAc2 in addition to several other paucimannose, high mannose, and few hybrid-type N-glycans. In overlay assays, these sugars were differentially recognized by the mannose receptor and DC-SIGN C-type lectins. We also show that salivary glycoproteins bind strongly to the surface of transmissible metacyclic trypanosomes. We suggest that although the repertoire of tsetse salivary N-glycans does not change during a trypanosome infection, the interactions with mannosylated glycoproteins may influence parasite transmission into the vertebrate host.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009071
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. 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.


  • Tsetse
  • paucimannosidic glycan
  • C-type lectin
  • trypanosomes
  • glycoproteins
  • saliva


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