Lactose binding to human galectin-7 (p53-induced gene 1) induces long-range effects through the protein resulting in increased dimer stability and evidence for positive cooperativity

Elena Ermakova, Michelle C. Miller, Irina V. Nesmelova, Lara López-Merino, Manuel Alvaro Berbís, Yuri Nesmelov, Yaroslav V. Tkachev, Laura Lagartera, Vladimir A. Daragan, Sabine André, F. Javier Cañada, Jesús Jiménez-Barbero, Dolores Solís, Hans Joachim Gabius, Kevin H. Mayo

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24 Scopus citations


The product of p53-induced gene 1 is a member of the galectin family, i.e., galectin-7 (Gal-7). To move beyond structural data by X-ray diffraction, we initiated the study of the lectin by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and circular dichroism spectroscopies, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. In concert, our results indicate that lactose binding to human Gal-7 induces long-range effects (minor conformational shifts and changes in structural dynamics) throughout the protein that result in stabilization of the dimer state, with evidence for positive cooperativity. Monte Carlo fits of 15N-Gal-7 HSQC titrations with lactose using a two-site model yield K1 = 0.9 ± 0.6 × 103 M-1 and K2 = 3.4 ± 0.8 × 103 M-1. Ligand binding-induced stabilization of the Gal-7 dimer was supported by several lines of evidence: MD-based calculations of interaction energies between ligand-loaded and ligand-free states, gel filtration data and hetero-FRET spectroscopy that indicate a highly reduced tendency for dimer dissociation in the presence of lactose, CD-based thermal denaturation showing that the transition temperature of the lectin is significantly increased in the presence of lactose, and saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR using a molecular probe of the monomer state whose presence is diminished in the presence of lactose. MD simulations with the half-loaded ligand-bound state also provided insight into how allosteric signaling may occur. Overall, our results reveal long-range effects on Gal-7 structure and dynamics, which factor into entropic contributions to ligand binding and allow further comparisons with other members of the galectin family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-523
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (CA 096090 to K.H.M.), the RAS program “Molecular and Cellular Biology” RFBR grant (No. 12 04 31360 to E.E.), the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 260600 (“GlycoHIT”), grants CTQ2009-08536 and BFU2009-10052 and a FPI PhD fellowship to M.A.B. from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the CIBER of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES), an initiative from the Spanish Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII). E.E. was supported by a Travel Grant from the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (University of Minnesota) during her stay in the research lab of Prof. K.H. Mayo. I.N. was supported in the Mayo lab by National Institutes of Health Hematology Training Grant (HL 07062).


  • FRET
  • NMR
  • circular dichroism
  • galectin
  • molecular dynamics

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