Regulation of T cell trafficking by enzymatic synthesis of O-glycans

Samuel J. Hobbs, Jeffrey C. Nolz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Selectins constitute a family of oligosaccharide binding proteins that play critical roles in regulating the trafficking of leukocytes. In T cells, L-selectin (CD62L) controls the capacity for naive and memory T cells to actively survey peripheral lymph nodes, whereas P- and E-selectin capture activated T cells on inflamed vascular endothelium to initiate extravasation into non-lymphoid tissues. The capacity for T cells to interact with all of these selectins is dependent on the enzymatic synthesis of complex O-glycans, and thus, this protein modification plays an indispensable role in regulating the distribution and homing of both naive and previously activated T cells in vivo. In contrast to neutrophils, O-glycan synthesis is highly dynamic in T cell populations and is largely controlled by extracellular stimuli such as antigen recognition or signaling though cytokine receptors. Herein, we review the basic principles of enzymatic synthesis of complex O-glycans, discuss tools and reagents for studying this type of protein modification and highlight our current understanding of how O-glycan synthesis is regulated and subsequently impacts the trafficking potential of diverse T cell populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number600
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - May 24 2017


  • High endothelial venules
  • Inflammation
  • O-glycans
  • PSGL-1
  • Selectins
  • Sialyl Lewis X
  • T cell memory
  • T cell trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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