Research ArticleHuman Immunology

The human IgG anti-carbohydrate repertoire exhibits a universal architecture and contains specificity for microbial attachment sites

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Jan 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 269, pp. 269ra1
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010524

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Antibodies: Looking Past the Trees

Understanding how individual antibodies affect specific targets has led to successful antibody-based therapies for many diseases. Yet, these advances may have obscured the big picture. Now, Schneider et al. use a systems biology approach to examine the repertoire of carbohydrate-specific IgG antibodies. They find a universal architecture of this repertoire, with an association between immunogenicity or tolerance and particular glycan structure. Indeed, anti-glycan antibodies could differentiate microbial antigens, host glycans, and even tumor-associated glycans. Further understanding of how these glycan determinants affect the immune response may serve to improve vaccine targets, diagnostics, and antibody-based therapies.