Thermodynamic binding studies of bivalent oligosaccharides to galectin-1, galectin-3, and the carbohydrate recognition domain of galectin-3

Nisar Ahmad, Hans J. Gabius, Subramanian Sabesan, Stefan Oscarson, C. Fred Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Galectins are a growing family of animal lectins with common consensus sequences that bind β-Gal and LacNAc residues. There are at present 14 members of the galectin family; however, certain galectins possess different structures as well as biological properties. Galectin-1 is a dimer of two homologous carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs) and possesses apoptotic and proinvasive activities. Galectin-3 consists of a C-terminal CRD and an N-terminal nonlectin domain implicated in the oligomerization of the protein and is often associated with antiapoptotic activity. Because many cellular oligosaccharide receptors are multivalent, it is important to characterize the, interactions of multivalent carbohydrates with galectins-1 and -3. In the present study, binding of bovine heart galectin-1 and recombinant murine galectin-3 to a series of synthetic analogs containing two LacNAc residues separated by a varying number of methylene groups, as well as biantennary analogs possessing two LacNAc residues, were examined using isothermal titration microcalorimetry (ITC) and hemagglutination inhibition measurements. The thermodynamics of binding of the multivalent carbohydrates to the C-terminal CRD domain of galectin-3 was also investigated. ITC results showed that each bivalent analog bound by both LacNAc residues to the two galectins. However, galectin-1 shows a lack of enhanced affinity for the bivalent straight chain and branched chain analogs, whereas galectin-3 shows enhanced affinity for only lacto-N-hexaose, a naturally occurring branched chain carbohydrate. The CRD domain of galectin-3 was shown to possess similar thermodynamic binding properties as the intact molecule. The results of this study have important implications for the design of carbohydrate inhibitors of the two galectins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-825
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Binding thermodynamics
  • Galectin-1
  • Galectin-3
  • Multivalent carbohydrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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