Binding Cooperativity Matters: A GM1-Like Ganglioside-Cholera Toxin B Subunit Binding Study Using a Nanocube-Based Lipid Bilayer Array. Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein-glycan recognition is often mediated by multivalent binding. These multivalent bindings can be further complicated by cooperative interactions between glycans and individual glycan binding subunits. Here we have demonstrated a nanocube-based lipid bilayer array capable of quantitatively elucidating binding dissociation constants, maximum binding capacity, and binding cooperativity in a high-throughput format. Taking cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) as a model cooperativity system, we studied both GM1 and GM1-like gangliosides binding to CTB. We confirmed the previously observed CTB-GM1 positive cooperativity. Surprisingly, we demonstrated fucosyl-GM1 has approximately 7 times higher CTB binding capacity than GM1. In order to explain this phenomenon, we hypothesized that the reduced binding cooperativity of fucosyl-GM1 caused the increased binding capacity. This was unintuitive, as GM1 exhibited higher binding avidity (16 times lower dissociation constant). We confirmed the hypothesis using a theoretical stepwise binding model of CTB. Moreover, by taking a mixture of fucosyl-GM1 and GM2, we observed the mild binding avidity fucosyl-GM1 activated GM2 receptors enhancing the binding capacity of the lipid bilayer surface. This was unexpected as GM2 receptors have negligible binding avidity in pure GM2 bilayers. These unexpected discoveries demonstrate the importance of binding cooperativity in multivalent binding mechanisms. Thus, quantitative analysis of multivalent protein-glycan interactions in heterogeneous glycan systems is of critical importance. Our user-friendly, robust, and high-throughput nanocube-based lipid bilayer array offers an attractive method for dissecting these complex mechanisms.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Worstell, N. C., Krishnan, P., Weatherston, J. D., & Wu, H.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Worstell, Nolan C||Krishnan, Pratik||Weatherston, Joshua D||Wu, Hung-Jen

editor list (cited editors)

  • Nabi, I. R.

publication date

  • April 2016