Galectins pp 75-90 | Cite as

Probing Lectin–Mucin Interactions by Isothermal Titration Microcalorimetry

  • Tarun K. Dam
  • C. Fred BrewerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1207)


Isothermal titration microcalorimetry (ITC) can directly determine the thermodynamic binding parameters of biological molecules including affinity constant, binding stoichiometry, and heat of binding (enthalpy) and indirectly the entropy and free energy of binding. ITC has been extensively used to study the binding of lectins to mono- and oligosaccharides, but limited applications to lectin–glycoprotein interactions. Inherent experimental challenges to ITC include sample precipitation during the experiment and relative high amount of sample required, but careful design of experiments can minimize these problems and allow valuable information to be obtained. For example, the thermodynamics of binding of lectins to multivalent globular and linear glycoproteins (mucins) have been described. The results are consistent with a dynamic binding mechanism in which lectins bind and jump from carbohydrate to carbohydrate epitope in these molecules leading to increased affinity. Importantly, the mechanism of binding of lectins to mucins appears similar to that for a variety of protein ligands binding to DNA. Recent results also show that high affinity lectin–mucin cross-linking interactions are driven by favorable entropy of binding that is associated with the bind and jump mechanism. The results suggest that the binding of ligands to biopolymers, in general, may involve a common mechanism that involves enhanced entropic effects that facilitate binding interactions.

Key words

Lectins Multivalent carbohydrates Glycoproteins Mucins Thermodynamics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Microbiology and ImmunologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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