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The C-type lectin DC-SIGNR (dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3-grabbing non-integrin-related; also known as L-SIGN or CD299) is a promising drug target due to its ability to promote infection and/or within-host survival of several dangerous pathogens (e.g. HIV and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS)) via interactions with their surface glycans. Crystallography has provided excellent insight into the mechanism by which DC-SIGNR interacts with small glycans, such as (GlcNAc)2Man3; however, direct observation of complexes with larger, physiological oligosaccharides, such as Man9GlcNAc2, remains elusive. We have utilized solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to investigate DC-SIGNR binding and herein report the first backbone assignment of its active, calcium-bound carbohydrate recognition domain. Direct interactions with the small sugar fragments Man3, Man5, and (GlcNAc)2Man3 were investigated alongside Man9GlcNAc derived from recombinant gp120 (present on the HIV viral envelope), providing the first structural data for DC-SIGNR in complex with a virus-associated ligand, and unique binding modes were observed for each glycan. In particular, our data show that DC-SIGNR has a different binding mode for glycans on the HIV viral envelope compared with the smaller glycans previously observed in the crystalline state. This suggests that using the binding mode of Man9GlcNAc, instead of those of small glycans, may provide a platform for the design of DC-SIGNR inhibitors selective for high mannose glycans (like those on HIV). (15)N relaxation measurements provided the first information on the dynamics of the carbohydrate recognition domain, demonstrating that it is a highly flexible domain that undergoes ligand-induced conformational and dynamic changes that may explain the ability of DC-SIGNR to accommodate a range of glycans on viral surfaces.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





22745 - 22757


C-type Lectin, Calcium-binding Proteins, Glycan Binding Affinities, Glycobiology, HIV, Lectin, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Oligosaccharide Interactions, Solution NMR Dynamics, gp120 Man9GlcNAc2, Cell Adhesion Molecules, HIV, Lectins, C-Type, Models, Molecular, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular, Oligosaccharides, Polysaccharides, Protein Binding, Receptors, Cell Surface