Dr. Sandra Loesgen Publishes Paper in Microbial Ecology

Dr. Sandra Loesgen Publishes Paper in Microbial Ecology

Published: Monday, January 27, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Loesgen, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Whitney Laboratory, who recently published a paper about the chemistry of coral-algae recognition in Microbial Ecology titled "N-Linked Surface Glycan Biosynthesis, Composition, Inhibition, and Function in Cnidarian-Dinoflagellate Symbiosis."


The success of symbioses between cnidarian hosts (e.g., corals and sea anemones) and micro-algal symbionts hinges on the molecular interactions that govern the establishment and maintenance of intracellular mutualisms. As a fundamental component of innate immunity, glycan-lectin interactions impact the onset of marine endosymbioses, but our understanding of the effects of cell surface glycome composition on symbiosis establishment remains limited. In this study, we examined the canonical N-glycan biosynthesis pathway in the genome of the dinoflagellate symbiont Breviolum minutum (family Symbiodiniaceae) and found it to be conserved with the exception of the transferase GlcNAc-TII (MGAT2). Using coupled liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we characterized the cell surface N-glycan content of B. minutum, providing the first insight into the molecular composition of surface glycans in dinoflagellates. We then used the biosynthesis inhibitors kifunensine and swainsonine to alter the glycan composition of B. minutum. Successful high-mannose enrichment via kifunensine treatment resulted in a significant decrease in colonization of the model sea anemone Aiptasia (Exaiptasia pallida) by B. minutum. Hybrid glycan enrichment via swainsonine treatment, however, could not be confirmed and did not impact colonization. We conclude that functional Golgi processing of N-glycans is critical for maintaining appropriate cell surface glycan composition and for ensuring colonization success by B. minutum.

Full Paper