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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Jul 27;359(2):221-6. Epub 2007 May 22.

Family 18 chitolectins: comparison of MGP40 and HUMGP39.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Center for Computational Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA.


Glycosidase and lectins both bind sugars, but only the glycosidases have catalytic activity. The glycosidases occur among over 100 evolved protein families and Family 18 is one of the two chitinases (EC 3, 2.1.14) families. Interestingly, lectins are also in this evolutionary group of Family 18 glycosidase proteins. The proteins belonging to the enzymatically inactive class are referred to as chitolectins and have a binding site that is highly similar to the catalytic Family 18 enzymes. We present a comparison of the recently obtained structures of two Family 18 chitolectins, MGP40 [A.K. Mohanty, G. Singh, M. Paramasivam, K. Saravanan, T. Jabeen, S. Sharma, S. Yadav, P. Kaur, P. Kumar, A. Srinivasan, T.P. Singh, Crystal structure of a novel regulatory 40kDa mammary gland protein (MGP-40) secreted during involution, J. Biol. Chem. 278 (2003) 14451-14460.] and HumGP39 [F. Fusetti, T. Pijning, K.H. Kalk, E. Bos, B.W. Dijkstra, Crystal structure and carbohydrate-binding properties of the human cartilage glycoprotein-39, J. Biol. Chem. 278 (2003) 37753-37760; D.R. Houston, D.R. Anneliese, C.K. Joanne, D.M.V. Aalten, Structure and ligand-induced conformational change of the 39kDa glycoprotein from human articular chondrocytes, J. Biol. Chem. 278 (2003) 30206-30212.] with a focus on the glycosidase active site. We compare the sequence and the structure of these two Family 18 protein classes. The difference between the active and inactive protein is a glutamic acid which acts as the essential acid/base residue for chitin cleavage and is replaced with leucine or glutamine in the chitolectins. Furthermore, a mechanism for the interaction between the chitolectin and oligosaccharides was proposed.

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