Glycomic analysis of human mast cells, eosinophils and basophils

Simon J. North, Stephan Von Gunten, Aristotelis Antonopoulos, Alana Trollope, Donald W. MacGlashan, Jihye Jang-Lee, Anne Dell, Dean D. Metcalfe, Arnold S. Kirshenbaum, Bruce S. Bochner*, Stuart M. Haslam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In allergic diseases such as asthma, eosinophils, basophils and mast cells, through release of preformed and newly generated mediators, granule proteins and cytokines, are recognized as key effector cells. While their surface protein phenotypes, mediator release profiles, ontogeny, cell trafficking and genomes have been generally explored and compared, there has yet to be any thorough analysis and comparison of their glycomes. Such studies are critical to understand the contribution of carbohydrates to the induction and regulation of allergic inflammatory responses and are now possible using improved technologies for detecting and characterizing cell-derived glycans. We thus report here the application of high-sensitivity mass spectrometric-based glycomics methodologies to the analysis of N-linked glycans derived from isolated populations of human mast cells, eosinophils and basophils. The samples were subjected to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) screening analyses and MALDI-TOF/TOF sequencing studies. Results reveal substantive quantities of terminal N-acetylglucosamine containing structures in both the eosinophil and the basophil samples, whereas mast cells display greater relative quantities of sialylated terminal epitopes. For the first time, we characterize the cell surface glycan structures of principal allergic effector cells, which by interaction with glycan-binding proteins (e.g. lectins) have the possibility to dictate cellular functions, and might thus have important implications for the pathogenesis of inflammatory and allergic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • basophil
  • eosinophil
  • glycomics
  • mass spectrometry
  • mast cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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