Dynamic temporal variations in bovine lactoferrin glycan structures

Rivca L. Valk-Weeber, Talitha Eshuis-de Ruiter, Lubbert Dijkhuizen, Sander S. van Leeuwen

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It has been reported previously that glycosylation of bovine lactoferrin changes over time. A detailed structural overview of these changes over the whole course of lactation, including predry period milk, is lacking. In this study, a high-throughput analysis method was applied to the glycoprofile of lactoferrin isolated from colostrum, mature, and predry period mature milk, which was analyzed over two subsequent lactation cycles for 8 cows from diverse genetic backgrounds. In addition, comparisons are made with commercial bovine lactoferrin samples. During the first 72 h, dynamic changes in lactoferrin glycosylation occurred. Shifts in the oligomannose distribution and the number of sialylated and fucosylated glycans were observed. In some cows, we observed (α2,3)-linked sialic acid in the earliest colostrum samples. The glycoprofiles appeared stable from 1 month after delivery, as well as between cows. In addition, the glycosylation profiles of commercial lactoferrins isolated from pooled mature milk were stable over the year. Lactoferrin glycosylation in the predry period resembles colostrum lactoferrin. The variations in lactoferrin glycosylation profiles, lactoferrin concentrations, and other milk parameters provide detailed information that potentially assists in unraveling the functions and biosynthesis regulation of lactoferrin glycosylation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberacs.jafc.9b06762
Pages (from-to)549-560
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number2
Early online date12-Dec-2019
Publication statusPublished - 15-Jan-2020


  • (α2,3)-sialic acid
  • N-glycosylation
  • colostrum
  • lactoferrin
  • milk

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