Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 211–221 | Cite as

Detection of glycidic receptors in microalgae using glycodendrons as probes: a new tool for studies on cell surface interactions

  • Cíntia de Almeida Gonçalves
  • Rute Cunha Figueiredo
  • Alessandra Giani
  • Daniel Collado
  • Ezequiel Pérez-Inestrosa
  • Javier Rojo
  • Cleber Cunha FigueredoEmail author


Cell recognition, adhesion, and internalization are involved in infectious, reproductive, and inflammatory processes and are generally mediated by interactions between molecules located in the cell membrane and the extracellular matrix. These processes can decrease proliferation rates and they are well known for bacteria, fungi, and animals, but there is a lack of knowledge regarding autotrophic cells. Carbohydrates and proteins (e.g., lectins) are important molecules for cell interactions and information about these molecules is essential to better understand many biological phenomena in uni- or multicellular organisms. Most studies focus on the identification of the carbohydrates present on the cell surface by using labeled lectins. Alternatively, here we present a pioneer research performed by using three different labeled carbohydrates in a multivalent presentation (glycodendrons) to detect the presence of carbohydrate receptors (e.g., lectins) on cell surfaces of 12 algal species. The goal of this study was to detect some specificity in these molecular interactions, but in a reverse way in comparison to that commonly described in the literature. We tested trivalent molecules containing residuals of D-mannose, L-fucose, or N-acetyl-galactosamine to identify their bindings with the corresponding lectins expressed on cell surfaces. We envisage that our new approach could be an alternative tool for taxonomic and physiological studies on microalgae or even on other groups of organisms. Based on our results, the receptors found in the cell surface of the algal species tend to differ in composition, quantity, and distribution. The differences were mainly species-specific, since no patterns were identified at higher taxonomic level. Moreover, like lectins, labeled carbohydrates were proved to be a reliable tool for the study of cell surface composition.


Cell interaction Lectins Carbohydrates Algae Fluorescent probes Cell recognition 



C.C.F. and R.C.F. thank Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) for financial support. We also thank the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for a Grant to C. Almeida. R.C.F thanks Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq-CsF) and Fundación Carolina for financial support. J.R. thanks Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) of Spain (project CTQ2014-52328-P) co-financed by European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cíntia de Almeida Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Rute Cunha Figueiredo
    • 2
  • Alessandra Giani
    • 1
  • Daniel Collado
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ezequiel Pérez-Inestrosa
    • 3
    • 4
  • Javier Rojo
    • 5
  • Cleber Cunha Figueredo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Química, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Química OrgánicaUniversidad de MálagaMálagaSpain
  4. 4.Centro de Nanomedicina y Biotecnología-BIONAND, Parque Tecnológico de AndalucíaMálagaSpain
  5. 5.Glycosystems Laboratory, Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas (IIQ)CSIC – Universidad de SevillaSevillaSpain

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