The α-galactomannan Davanat binds galectin-1 at a site different from the conventional galectin carbohydrate binding domain

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66 Scopus citations


Galectins are a sub-family of lectins, defined by their highly conserved β-sandwich structures and ability to bind to β-galactosides, like Gal β1-4 Glc (lactose). Here, we used 15N- 1H HSQC and pulse field gradient (PFG) NMR spectroscopy to demonstrate that galectin-1 (gal-1) binds to the relatively large galactomannan Davanat, whose backbone is composed of β1-4-linked D-mannopyranosyl units to which single D-galactopyranosyl residues are periodically attached via α1-6 linkage (weight-average MW of 59 kDa). The Davanat binding domain covers a relatively large area on the surface of gal-1 that runs across the dimer interface primarily on that side of the protein opposite to the lactose binding site. Our data show that gal-1 binds Davanat with an apparent equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) of 10 × 10-6 M, compared to 260 × 10-6 M for lactose, and a stiochiometry of about 3 to 6 gal-1 molecules per Davanat molecule. Mannan also interacts at the same galactomannan binding domain on gal-1, but with at least 10-fold lower avidity, supporting the role of galactose units in Davanat for relatively strong binding to gal-1. We also found that the β-galactoside binding domain remains accessible in the gal-1/ Davanat complex, as lactose can still bind with no apparent loss in affinity. In addition, gal-1 binding to Davanat also modifies the supermolecular structure of the galactomannan and appears to reduce its hydrodynamic radius and disrupt inter-glycan interactions thereby reducing glycan-mediated solution viscosity. Overall, our findings contribute to understanding gal-1-carbohydrate interactions and provide insight into gal-1 function with potentially significant biological consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1045
Number of pages12
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Cancer Institute (NIH R01 CA096090 to K.H.M.); support from the National Institutes of Health Cancer Biology Training Grant (NIH T32 CA009138) to M.C.M.; the National Science Foundation (BIR-961477); the University of Minnesota Medical School; the Minnesota Medical Foundation.


  • Diffusion
  • Glycan
  • Lectin
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Protein Q


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