The carbohydrate-binding domain on galectin-1 is more extensive for a complex glycan than for simple saccharides: Implications for galectin-glycan interactions at the cell surface

Michelle C Miller, Irina V. Nesmelova, David Platt, Anatole Klyosov, Kevin H Mayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

gal-1 (galectin-1) mediates cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesion, essentially by interactingwith β-galactoside-containing glycans of cell-surface glycoconjugates. Although most structural studies with gal-1 have investigated its binding to simple carbohydrates, in particular lactose and N-acetyl-lactosamine, this view is limited, because gal-1 functions at the cell surface by interacting with more complex glycans that are heterogeneous in size and composition. In the present study we used NMR spectroscopy to investigate the interaction of human gal-1 with a large (120 kDa) complex glycan, GRG (galactorhamnogalacturonate glycan), that contains non-randomly distributed mostly terminal β(1→4)-linked galactose side chains. We used 15N-1H-HSQC (heteronuclear single quantum coherence) NMR experiments with 15N-enriched gal-1 to identify the GRG-binding region on gal-1 and found that this region covers a large surface area on gal-1 that includes the quintessential lactose-binding site and runs from that site through a broad valley or cleft towards the dimer interface. HSQC and pulsed-field-gradient NMRdiffusion experiments also show that gal-1 binds GRG with a gal-1:GRG stoichiometry of about 5:1 (or 6:1) and with average macroscopic and microscopic equilibrium dissociation constants (Kd) of 8×10-6M and 40×10-6 M (or 48×10-6 M) respectively, indicating stronger binding than to lactose (Kd =520×10-6 M). Although gal-1 may bind GRG in various ways, the glycan can be competed for by lactose, suggesting that there is one major mode of interaction. Furthermore, even though terminal motifs on GRG are Gal-β (1→4)-Gal rather than the traditional Gal-β(1→4)- Glc/GlcNAc (where GlcNAc is N-acetylglucosamine), we show that the disaccharide Gal-β(1→4)-Gal can bind gal-1 at the lactose-binding domain. In addition, gal-1 binding to GRG disrupts inter-glycan interactions and decreases glycan-mediated solution viscosity, a glycan decongestion effect that may help explain why gal-1 promotes membrane fluidity and lateral diffusion of glycoconjugates within cell membranes. Overall, our results provide an insight into the function of galectin in situ and have potential significant biological consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemical Journal
Volume421
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2009

Keywords

  • Carbohydrate-binding domain
  • Cell surface
  • Galectin-glycan interactions
  • Heteronuclear single quantum coherence nuclear magnetic resonance (HSQC NMR)
  • NMR diffusion spectroscopy
  • Simple saccharide

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