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Biochem J. Aug 15, 1988; 254(1): 195–202.
PMCID: PMC1135056

Chemical-modification studies of a unique sialic acid-binding lectin from the snail Achatina fulica. Involvement of tryptophan and histidine residues in biological activity.


A unique sialic acid-binding lectin, achatininH (ATNH) was purified in single step from the haemolymph of the snail Achatina fulica by affinity chromatography on sheep submaxillary-gland mucin coupled to Sepharose 4B. The homogeneity was checked by alkaline gel electrophoresis, immunodiffusion and immunoelectrophoresis. Amino acid analysis showed that the lectin has a fairly high content of acidic amino acid residues (22% of the total). About 1.3% of the residues are half-cystine. The glycoprotein contains 21% carbohydrate. The unusually high content of xylose (6%) and fucose (2.7%) in this snail lectin is quite interesting. The protein was subjected to various chemical modifications in order to detect the amino acid residues and carbohydrate residues present in its binding sites. Modification of tyrosine and arginine residues did not affect the binding activity of ATNH; however, modification of tryptophan and histidine residues led to a complete loss of its biological activity. A marked decrease in the fluorescence emission was found as the tryptophan residues of ATNH were modified. The c.d. data showed the presence of an identical type of conformation in the native and modified agglutinin. The modification of lysine and carboxy residues partially diminished the biological activity. The activity was completely lost after a beta-elimination reaction, indicating that the sugars are O-glycosidically linked to the glycoprotein's protein moiety. This result confirms that the carbohydrate moiety also plays an important role in the agglutination property of this lectin.

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Selected References

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