OLIgo mass profiling (OLIMP) of extracellular polysaccharides.
- Author(s): Günl, Markus
- Gille, Sascha
- Pauly, Markus
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.3791/2046
The direct contact of cells to the environment is mediated in many organisms by an extracellular matrix. One common aspect of extracellular matrices is that they contain complex sugar moieties in form of glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and/or polysaccharides. Examples include the extracellular matrix of humans and animal cells consisting mainly of fibrillar proteins and proteoglycans or the polysaccharide based cell walls of plants and fungi, and the proteoglycan/glycolipid based cell walls of bacteria. All these glycostructures play vital roles in cell-to-cell and cell-to-environment communication and signalling. An extraordinary complex example of an extracellular matrix is present in the walls of higher plant cells. Their wall is made almost entirely of sugars, up to 75% dry weight, and consists of the most abundant biopolymers present on this planet. Therefore, research is conducted how to utilize these materials best as a carbon-neutral renewable resource to replace petrochemicals derived from fossil fuel. The main challenge for fuel conversion remains the recalcitrance of walls to enzymatic or chemical degradation due to the unique glycostructures present in this unique biocomposite. Here, we present a method for the rapid and sensitive analysis of plant cell wall glycostructures. This method OLIgo Mass Profiling (OLIMP) is based the enzymatic release of oligosaccharides from wall materials facilitating specific glycosylhydrolases and subsequent analysis of the solubilized oligosaccharide mixtures using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/MS)(1) (Figure 1). OLIMP requires walls of only 5000 cells for a complete analysis, can be performed on the tissue itself(2), and is amenable to high-throughput analyses(3). While the absolute amount of the solubilized oligosaccharides cannot be determined by OLIMP the relative abundance of the various oligosaccharide ions can be delineated from the mass spectra giving insights about the substitution-pattern of the native polysaccharide present in the wall. OLIMP can be used to analyze a wide variety of wall polymers, limited only by the availability of specific enzymes(4). For example, for the analysis of polymers present in the plant cell wall enzymes are available to analyse the hemicelluloses xyloglucan using a xyloglucanase(5, 11, 12, 13), xylan using an endo-beta-(1-4)-xylanase (6,7), or for pectic polysaccharides using a combination of a polygalacturonase and a methylesterase (8). Furthermore, using the same principles of OLIMP glycosylhydrolase and even glycosyltransferase activities can be monitored and determined (9).