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Title: Garlic (Allium Sativum) Agglutinin I: Specificity, Binding And Folding Mechanism
Authors: Bachhawat, Kiran
Advisors: Surolia, A
Submitted Date: Nov-2000
Publisher: Indian Institute of Science
Abstract: Lectins are a class of proteins that bind to carbohydrates with a high degree of specificity. They are involved in various cellular processes such as, host - pathogen interactions, targeting of proteins within cells, cell - cell interaction, cellular segregation and development. They serve as important tools for probing the carbohydrate structures in biological systems such as cell membranes and also as model systems for elucidating protein - carbohydrate interactions. Lectins are distributed ubiquitously in nature ranging from microorganisms to the plants and animals. Plant lectins are a group of proteins that according to a recently updated definition comprise all plant proteins possessing at least one non-catalytic domain that binds reversibly to specific mono- or oligosaccharide. The majority of all currently known plant lectins may be classified into four major groups - (1) Legume lectins, (2) Chitin-binding lectins, (3) Type 2 Ribosome inactivating proteins and the (4) Monocot mannose binding lectins. The monocot mannose binding lectins are an extended superfamily of structurally and evolutionarily related proteins. Till now these proteins have been isolated from the following families, namely, Amaryllidaceae, Affiaceae, Araceae, Orchidaceae, Iridaceae and Li/iaceae. They exhibit marked sequence homology and a unique specificity for mannose. At present there is a wide interest in the monocot mannose-binding lectins because of: (1) their exclusive specificity towards mannose, (2) their anti - retroviral activity and (3) their potent entomotoxic properties. Of particular interest are lectins from the bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) and ramson (A. ursinum), which contain more than one type of lectin. The first report of the presence of lectins in the bulbs of garlic {Allium sativum agglutinin, ASA) was made by Van Damme et al in 1991. Bulbs of garlic are known to accumulate two types of mannose binding lectins, the heterodimeric, ASAI and the hornodimeric, ASAII. Though these two lectins differ in the lengths of their polypeptide chains, they exhibit marked similarities with respect to their primary sequence, post translational modifications, serological properties, immunochemical attributes as well as carbohydrate binding properties. This thesis describes the successful cloning of the ASAI gene from the garlic genomic DNA and expression of the functional recombinant protein in insect cell lines. ASAI was subsequently characterized for its carbohydrate binding specificity by means of a sensitive enzyme based assay. Finer insights into this sugar binding topology of ASAI for its complementary ligands was obtained from the surface plasmon resonance studies. Lastly, the folding behaviour as well as an estimate of its conformational stability was investigated by differential scanning calorimetric and equilibrium solution denaturation studies. Chapter 1 provides a comprehensive review on lectins pertaining to their definition, historical background, occurrence in nature, three dimensional structure and architecture, modes of bonding, biological functions and implications as well as their applications in biomedical research. Chapter 2 describes the isolation and purification of the heterodimeric lectin, ASAI in two steps using affinity chromatography followed by gel filtration chromatography from the bulbs of garlic. The purified ASAI was then characterized for their serological, physico- and immuno-chemical properties by means of capillary electrophoresis, hemagglutination activity and generation of antisera against ASAI in rabbits. Chapter 3 revolves around the cloning of the gene encoding ASAI by PCR amplification from garlic genomic DNA. The authenticity of the ASA gene was established by means of gene sequencing, which in turn provided us with the primary sequence of this lectin. With the ASAI clone established innumerable attempts, as highlighted in the chapter, were made to express the functional protein in bacteria. All attempts yielded pure recombinant garlic lectin with no detectable activity. This prompted us to shift our efforts into expression of the recombinant protein in the baculovirus expression system using the Sf21 insect cell lines and the Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV). The choice of this system proved beneficial as we obtained functional recombinant garlic lectin with its hemagglutinating activity comparable to the native protein. Chapter 4 highlights the design of an elegant coupled enzyme-based colorimetric assay (Enzyme Linked Lectin Adsorbent Assay) for elucidation of the carbohydrate binding specificity of ASAI. This expansive and extensive study involved the assay of a wide range of mannooligosaccharides in order to gain an insight into the sugar binding details of ASAI. ASAI recognizes monosaccharides in the mannosyl configuration. The potencies of the ligands for ASAI is shown to increase in the following order: Mannobiose < Mannotriose Mannopentaose Man9 oligosaccharide. Mannononase glycopeptide (Man9GlcNAc2Asn), the highest oligomer studied exhibited the greatest binding affinity suggesting ASAI to possess a preference for cluster of terminal αl-2-linked mannosyl residues at the non-reducing end. This kind of exquisite specificity is unique in the lectins described so far. Among the glycoproteins assayed, invertase, soyabean agglutinin and ovalbumin displayed high binding affinity. Chapter 5 unravels the fine specificity of the mannose containing carbohydrate moieties for binding to ASAI with emphasis on their kinetics of binding. This has been achieved by invoking the principle of surface plasmon resonance allowing measurement of bimolecular interactions in real time. This investigation corroborates our earlier study about the special preference of garlic lectin for terminal a α1-2 linked mannose residues. Increase in binding propensity can be directly correlated to the addition of αl-2 linked mannose to the mannooligosaccharide at its non-reducing end. An analyses of these data reveals that the α1-2 linked terminal mannose on the α1-6 arm to be the critical determinant in the recognition of mannooligosaccharides by the lectin. While kI increases progressively from Man3 to Man7 derivatives, and more dramatically so for Man8 and Man9 derivatives, k-1 decreases relatively much less gradually from Man3 to Man9 structures. An unprecedented increase in the association rate constant for interaction with ASAI with the structure of the oligosaccharide ligand constitutes a significant finding in protein-sugar recognition. Chapter 6 deals with the thermal unfolding of ASAI, characterized by differential scanning calorimetry and circular dichroism which shows it to be highly reversible and can be defined as a two-state process in which the folded dimer is converted directly to the unfolded monomers (A2 2U). Moreover, its conformational stability has been determined as a function of temperature; GdnCl concentration and pH using a combination of thermal and isothermal GdnCl induced unfolding monitored by DSC, far-UV CD and fluorescence, respectively. Analysis of these data yielded the heat capacity change upon unfolding (∆CP) as also the temperature dependence of the thermodynamic parameters, namely, ∆G, ∆H, ∆S. The protein appears to attain a completely unfolded state irrespective of the method of denaturation. The absence of any folding intermediates suggests the quaternary interactions to be the major contributor to the conformational stability of the protein, which correlates very well with its X-ray structure. The final chapter summarizes the findings reported in the thesis.
URI: http://etd.iisc.ernet.in/handle/2005/243
Appears in Collections:Molecular Biophysics Unit (mbu)

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