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Glycobiology. 2003 Oct;13(10):713-23. Epub 2003 Jul 8.

The N-terminal carbohydrate recognition domain of galectin-8 recognizes specific glycosphingolipids with high affinity.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Sasaki Institute, 2-2, Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0062, Japan.


Galectin-8 is a member of the galectin family and has two tandem repeated carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs). We determined the binding specificities of galectin-8 and its two CRDs for oligosaccharides and glycosphingolipids using ELISA and surface plasmon resonance assays. Galectin-8 had much higher affinity for 3'-O-sulfated or 3'-O-sialylated lactose and a Lewis x-containing glycan than for oligosaccharides terminating in Galbeta1-->3/4GlcNAc. This specificity was mainly attributed to the N-terminal CRD (N-domain), whereas the C-terminal CRD (C-domain) had only weak affinity for a blood group A glycan. The N-domain bound not only to oligosaccharides but also to glycosphingolipids including sulfatide (SM4 s), SM3, sialyl Lc4Cer, SB1a, GD1a, GM3, and sialyl nLc4Cer, suggesting that the N-domain recognizes a 3-O-sulfated or 3-O-sialylated Gal residue. The substitution of the C-3 of the Gal residue in lactose or N-acetyllactosamine with sulfate increased the degree of recognition by galectin-8 more potently than substitution with sialic acid. This is the first demonstration that galectin-8 binds to specific sulfated or sialylated glycosphingolipids with high affinity (KD approximately 10-8-10-9 M). When the Gln47 residue of the N-domain was converted to Ala47, the specific affinity for sulfated or sialylated glycans was selectively lost, indicating that this Gln47 plays important roles for binding to Neu5Acalpha2-->3Gal or SO3--->3Gal residues. The binding ability of galectin-8 to membrane-associated GM3 was confirmed using CHO cells, which predominantly express GM3. Binding of CHO cells to the mutein was significantly lower than to the N-domain.

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