Prevaccination Glycan Markers of Response to an Influenza Vaccine Implicate the Complement Pathway

Rui Qin, Guanmin Meng, Smruti Pushalkar, Michael A. Carlock, Ted M. Ross, Christine Vogel, Lara K. Mahal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key to improving vaccine design and vaccination strategy is to understand the mechanism behind the variation of vaccine response with host factors. Glycosylation, a critical modulator of immunity, has no clear role in determining vaccine responses. To gain insight into the association between glycosylation and vaccine-induced antibody levels, we profiled the pre- and postvaccination serum protein glycomes of 160 Caucasian adults receiving the FLUZONE influenza vaccine during the 2019-2020 influenza season using lectin microarray technology. We found that prevaccination levels of Lewis A antigen (Lea) are significantly higher in nonresponders than responders. Glycoproteomic analysis showed that Lea-bearing proteins are enriched in complement activation pathways, suggesting a potential role of glycosylation in tuning the activities of complement proteins, which may be implicated in mounting vaccine responses. In addition, we observed a postvaccination increase in sialyl Lewis X antigen (sLex) and a decrease in high mannose glycans among high responders, which were not observed in nonresponders. These data suggest that the immune system may actively modulate glycosylation as part of its effort to establish effective protection postvaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1985
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2022


  • antibody response
  • glycome
  • glycosylation
  • immunity
  • influenza
  • lectin microarray
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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