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J Biol Chem. 2007 Dec 28;282(52):37826-35. Epub 2007 Oct 31.

C-type lectin-like carbohydrate recognition of the hemolytic lectin CEL-III containing ricin-type -trefoil folds.

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Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.


CEL-III is a Ca(2+)-dependent hemolytic lectin, isolated from the marine invertebrate Cucumaria echinata. The three-dimensional structure of CEL-III/GalNAc and CEL-III/methyl alpha-galactoside complexes was solved by x-ray crystallographic analysis. In these complexes, five carbohydrate molecules were found to be bound to two carbohydrate-binding domains (domains 1 and 2) located in the N-terminal 2/3 portion of the polypeptide and that contained beta-trefoil folds similar to ricin B-chain. The 3-OH and 4-OH of bound carbohydrate molecules were coordinated with Ca(2+) located at the subdomains 1alpha, 1gamma, 2alpha, 2beta, and 2gamma, simultaneously forming hydrogen bond networks with nearby amino acid side chains, which is similar to carbohydrate binding in C-type lectins. The binding of carbohydrates was further stabilized by aromatic amino acid residues, such as tyrosine and tryptophan, through a stacking interaction with the hydrophobic face of carbohydrates. The importance of amino acid residues in the carbohydrate-binding sites was confirmed by the mutational analyses. The orientation of bound GalNAc and methyl alpha-galactoside was similar to the galactose moiety of lactose bound to the carbohydrate-binding site of the ricin B-chain, although the ricin B-chain does not require Ca(2+) ions for carbohydrate binding. The binding of the carbohydrates induced local structural changes in carbohydrate-binding sites in subdomains 2alpha and 2beta. Binding of GalNAc also induced a slight change in the main chain structure of domain 3, which could be related to the conformational change upon binding of specific carbohydrates to induce oligomerization of the protein.

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