Structural Aspects of Carbohydrate Recognition Mechanisms of C-Type Lectins

  • Masamichi NagaeEmail author
  • Yoshiki YamaguchiEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 429)


Carbohydrate recognition is an essential function occurring in all living organisms. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins and are classified into several families. In mammals, Ca2+-dependent C-type lectins, such as β-galactoside-binding galectin and sialic acid-binding siglec, play crucial roles in the immune response and homeostasis. C-type lectins are abundant and diverse in animals. Their immunological activities include lymphocyte homing, pathogen recognition, and clearance of apoptotic bodies. C-type lectin domains are composed of 110–130 amino acid residues with highly conserved structural folds. Remarkably, individual lectins can accept a wide variety of sugar ligands and can distinguish subtle structural differences in closely related ligands. In addition, several C-type lectin-like proteins specifically bind to carbohydrate ligands in Ca2+-independent ways. The accumulated 3D structural evidence clarifies the unexpected structural versatility of C-type lectins underlying the variety of ligand binding modes. In this issue, we focus on the structural aspects of carbohydrate recognition mechanisms of C-type lectins and C-type lectin-like proteins.


C-type lectin Carbohydrate recognition 3D structure EPN and QPD motifs 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesTohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical UniversityMiyagiJapan

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