A lectin microarray approach for the rapid analysis of bacterial glycans

Ku Lung Hsu, Lara K. Mahal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid evaluation of microbial cell-surface carbohydrates is essential to understanding the mechanisms by which bacteria use glycans to establish pathogenic or symbiotic relationships. Microbial glycan analysis is complicated both by the vast diversity of possible carbohydrate structures and by their dynamic nature. Bacteria can rapidly alter their glycan coats by switching the genes that are involved on and off in a phase-variable manner. Currently, there is a lack of appropriate tools for studying dynamic carbohydrate alterations. Here, we present a lectin microarray protocol for the high-throughput evaluation of cell-surface microbial sugars. The binding patterns of fluorescent bacteria to these arrays provide a simple means to fingerprint bacteria based on their surface carbohydrates. In addition, this method provides a rapid, parallel evaluation of glycans from multiple bacterial samples, allowing dynamic changes in carbohydrate structures to be studied. The entire procedure takes ∼12 h but the printing of the microarray can be performed in advance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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