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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059761. Epub 2013 Mar 29.

Understanding the specificity of human Galectin-8C domain interactions with its glycan ligands based on molecular dynamics simulations.

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D015, Translational Immunology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, Heidelberg, Germany.


Human Galectin-8 (Gal-8) is a member of the galectin family which shares an affinity for β-galactosides. The tandem-repeat Gal-8 consists of a N- and a C-terminal carbohydrate recognition domain (N- and C-CRD) joined by a linker peptide of various length. Despite their structural similarity both CRDs recognize different oligosaccharides. While the molecular requirements of the N-CRD for high binding affinity to sulfated and sialylated glycans have recently been elucidated by crystallographic studies of complexes with several oligosaccharides, the binding specificities of the C-CRD for a different set of oligosaccharides, as derived from experimental data, has only been explained in terms of the three-dimensional structure for the complex C-CRD with lactose. In this study we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using the recently released crystal structure of the Gal-8C-CRD to analyse the three-dimensional conditions for its specific binding to a variety of oligosaccharides as previously defined by glycan-microarray analysis. The terminal β-galactose of disaccharides (LacNAc, lacto-N-biose and lactose) and the internal β-galactose moiety of blood group antigens A and B (BGA, BGB) as well as of longer linear oligosaccharide chains (di-LacNAc and lacto-N-neotetraose) are interacting favorably with conserved amino acids (H53, R57, N66, W73, E76). Lacto-N-neotetraose and di-LacNAc as well as BGA and BGB are well accommodated. BGA and BGB showed higher affinity than LacNAc and lactose due to generally stronger hydrogen bond interactions and water mediated hydrogen bonds with α1-2 fucose respectively. Our results derived from molecular dynamics simulations are able to explain the glycan binding specificities of the Gal-8C-CRD in comparison to those of the Gal-8N -CRD.

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