Lectins translate information encoded in glycan chains of cellular glycoconjugates into bioeffects. The topological presentation of contact sites for cognate sugar binding is a crucial factor toward this end. To dissect the significance of such phylogenetically conserved properties, the design and engineering of non-natural variants are attractive approaches. Here, a homodimeric human lectin, i.e. adhesion/growth-regulatory galectin-1, is converted into a tandem-repeat display by introducing the 33-amino-acid linker of another family member (i.e. galectin-8). The yield of variant was reduced by about a third. This protein had ∼10-fold higher activity in hemagglutination. Nearly complete sequence determination by mass-spectrometric in-source decay and fingerprinting excluded the presence of any modifications. When 1H-15N heteronuclear single-quantum coherence data on the 15N-labeled variant and wild-type protein were compared, changes in chemical shifts, signal intensities and resonance multiplicities revealed reduction of stability of interfacial contacts between the lectin domains and an increase in inter-domain flexibility. When both binding sites in the variant were loaded with ligand, association of the two carbohydrate recognition domains was enhanced, corroborated by gel filtration. Dynamic changes in the spatial presentation of the two lectin domains in the context of a tandem-repeat display can alter counterreceptor targeting relative to the fixed positions found in the proto-type galectin homodimer.
- in-source decay
- sugar code