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Structural Studies On Winged Bean Agglutinins

By N Manoj


Lectins are multivalent carbohydrate binding proteins that specifically recognise diverse sugar structures and mediate a variety of biological processes, such as cell-cell and host-pathogen interactions, serum glycoprotein turnover and innate immune responses. Lectins have received considerable attention in recent years on account of their properties which have led to their wide use in research and biomedical applications. Seeds of leguminous plants are rich sources of lectins, but they are also found in all classes and families of organisms. Legume lectins have similar tertiary structures, but exhibit a large variety of quaternary structures. The carbohydrate binding site in them is made up of four loops, the first three of which are highly conserved in all legume lectins. The fourth loop, which is variable, is implicated in conferring specificity. Legume lectins which share the same monosaccharide specificity often exhibit markedly different oligosaccharide specificities. The introductory chapter gives a broad overview of lectins from a structural point of view. The rest of the thesis is primarily concerned with structural studies on lectins from seeds of the winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus). Winged bean seeds contain a basic lectin (WBAI) (pi > 9.5) and an acidic lectin (WBAII) (pi -5.5). Both these lectins are N-glycosylated homodimers with about 240 amino acid residues per monomer. They show a high affinity for methyl-a-D-galactose at the monosaccharide level but have entirely different affinities for oligosaccharides. WBAI agglutinates human type A and B erythrocytes but not O type, while WBAII binds specifically to the terminally monofucosylated H-antigenic (responsible for O blood group reactivity) determinants on the cell surface. In this context, the current study seeks to characterise the carbohydrate binding site of a saccharide-free form of WBAI and determine the structural basis of carbohydrate recognition in WBAII. The study also aims to identify the factors responsible for the differences in carbohydrate specificities between WBAI and WBAII. Diffraction data from a saccharide-free crystal form of WBAI and two crystal forms (Form I and II) of WBAII complexed with methyl-a-D-galactose were collected on a MAR imaging plate system mounted on a Rigaku RU200 rotating anode X-ray generator. The data were processed using the MAR-XDS and DENZO/SCALEPACK suites of programs. The structures were solved by the molecular replacement method using AMoRe. The model used in the case of WBAI and Form I of WBAII was the structure of WBAI in complex with methyl-a-D-galactose (PDB coderlWBL), while the structure of Form II of WBAH was solved using a partially refined model of Form I. The refinements and model building were performed using the programs X-PLOR/CNS and O respectively. A comparison of the structures of the saccharide-free and bound forms of WBAI revealed three water molecules occupying the carbohydrate binding site, which mimic the hydrogen bonded interactions made by the saccharide in the structure of the complex. Also a shift of -0.6 A in the variable loop, towards the saccharide in the structure of the complex was observed. Significant differences in the conformation of a loop involved in crystal packing interactions were also observed. An analysis of protein hydration demonstrates, among other things, the role of water molecules in stabilising the structure of the loops around the carbohydrate binding site. The crystal structures of the two forms of WBAH were solved at 3.0 A and 3.3. A resolution. The structure of the complex revealed the role of the length of the variable loop in generating the difference in oligosaccharide specificity between WBAI and WB All. The difference in the pi values between the two lectins is caused by substitutions occurring in loops and edges of sheets. A distinct structural difference between WBAH and all the other legume lectins of known structure is in the new disposition of the 34-45 loop with an r.m.s deviation of -6.0A in Coc positions compared to its position in other lectins. This change in conformation is caused by the formation of salt bridges by amino acid residues unique to WB All in the 34-45 loop and its neighbourhood. Thermodynamic studies on the binding of H-antigenic determinant to WBAII showed a predominance of entropic contribution suggesting a hydrophobically driven binding, not yet observed in lectin-sugar interactions. An analysis involving the docking of H-type II trisaccharide (Fuca(l-2)Galf}(l-4)GlcNAc) into the carbohydrate binding site and a comparison with the binding sites of other legume lectins revealed the role of a Tyr in the variable loop and an Asn in the second loop that are unique to WBAII in generating this unique binding property. Earlier work on peanut lectin and WBAI demonstrated that the modes of dimerisation of legume lectins are governed by features intrinsic to the protein. A phylogenetic analysis of the sequences of all legume lectins whose structures are available has been performed to examine the relationship among the various classes of oligomers and classes of sugar specificity. The information thus obtained showed that groups of legume lectins that share a common mode of dimerisation cluster together. A sequence alignment based on structures revealed amino acid residues unique to each of these clusters that may be important in determining the modes of observed dimerisation. While pursuing structural studies on WBAI and WBAII, the author has also been involved in an ongoing small molecule project in the laboratory, which involves preparation and X-ray structure determination of the complexes of carboxylic acids with amino acids and peptides. The work carried out in the project is described in the appendix

Topics: Plant Morphology, Lectins, WBAI, WBAII, AMoRe (Automated Molecular Replacement Package), Winged Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), Galectins, S-Lectins, Pentraxine, Tachylectins
Publisher: Indian Institute of Science
Year: 2000
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