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Protein Sci. 1999 Jan;8(1):13-24.

KM+, a mannose-binding lectin from Artocarpus integrifolia: amino acid sequence, predicted tertiary structure, carbohydrate recognition, and analysis of the beta-prism fold.

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  • 1Centro de Química de Proteínas and Departamento de Ginecologia e Obstetricia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.


The complete amino acid sequence of the lectin KM+ from Artocarpus integrifolia (jackfruit), which contains 149 residues/mol, is reported and compared to those of other members of the Moraceae family, particularly that of jacalin, also from jackfruit, with which it shares 52% sequence identity. KM+ presents an acetyl-blocked N-terminus and is not posttranslationally modified by proteolytic cleavage as is the case for jacalin. Rather, it possesses a short, glycine-rich linker that unites the regions homologous to the alpha- and beta-chains of jacalin. The results of homology modeling implicate the linker sequence in sterically impeding rotation of the side chain of Asp141 within the binding site pocket. As a consequence, the aspartic acid is locked into a conformation adequate only for the recognition of equatorial hydroxyl groups on the C4 epimeric center (alpha-D-mannose, alpha-D-glucose, and their derivatives). In contrast, the internal cleavage of the jacalin chain permits free rotation of the homologous aspartic acid, rendering it capable of accepting hydrogen bonds from both possible hydroxyl configurations on C4. We suggest that, together with direct recognition of epimeric hydroxyls and the steric exclusion of disfavored ligands, conformational restriction of the lectin should be considered to be a new mechanism by which selectivity may be built into carbohydrate binding sites. Jacalin and KM+ adopt the beta-prism fold already observed in two unrelated protein families. Despite presenting little or no sequence similarity, an analysis of the beta-prism reveals a canonical feature repeatedly present in all such structures, which is based on six largely hydrophobic residues within a beta-hairpin containing two classic-type beta-bulges. We suggest the term beta-prism motif to describe this feature.

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