Binding of polysaccharides to human galectin-3 at a noncanonical site in its carbohydrate recognition domain

Michelle C. Miller, Hans Ippel, Dennis Suylen, Anatole A. Klyosov, Peter G. Traber, Tilman Hackeng, Kevin H. Mayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a multifunctional lectin, unique to galectins by the presence of a long N-terminal tail (NT) off of its carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD). Many previous studies have investigated binding of small carbohydrates to its CRD. Here, we used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (15N-1H heteronuclear single quantum coherence data) to assess binding of 15N-Gal-3 (and truncated 15N-Gal-3 CRD) to several, relatively large polysaccharides, including eight varieties of galactomannans (GMs), as well as a β(1 → 4)-polymannan and an α-branched mannan. Overall, we found that these polysaccharides with a larger carbohydrate footprint interact primarily with a noncanonical carbohydrate-binding site on the F-face of the Gal-3 CRD β-sandwich, and to a less extent, if at all, with the canonical carbohydrate-binding site on the S-face. While there is no evidence for interaction with the NT itself, it does appear that the NT somehow mediates stronger interactions between the Gal-3 CRD and the GMs. Significant Gal-3 resonance broadening observed during polysaccharide titrations indicates that interactions occur in the intermediate exchange regime, and analysis of these data allows estimation of affinities and stoichiometries that range from 4 × 104 to 12 × 104 M-1 per site and multiple sites per polysaccharide, respectively. We also found that lactose can still bind to the CRD S-face of GM-bound Gal-3, with the binding of one ligand attenuating affinity of the other. These data are compared with previous results on Gal-1, revealing differences and similarities. They also provide research direction to the development of these polysaccharides as galectin-targeting therapeutics in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 16 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Prof. Tai for providing the expression vector for human Gal-3, and Prof. Gabius for reading the manuscript and making helpful additions to the text. Funding for NMR instrumentation at the University of Minnesota was provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Medical School, the College of Biological Sciences, NIH, NSF, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • NMR
  • galactose
  • glycan
  • lectin
  • protein


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