The influence of heteromultivalency on lectin-glycan binding behavior. Academic Article uri icon


  • We recently discovered that the nature of lectin multivalency and glycolipid diffusion on cell membranes could lead to the heteromultivalent binding (i.e., a single lectin simultaneously binding to different types of glycolipid ligands). This heteromultivalent binding may even govern the lectin-glycan recognition process. To investigate this, we developed a kinetic Monte Carlo simulation, which only considers the fundamental physics/chemistry principles, to model the process of lectin binding to glycans on cell surfaces. We found that the high-affinity glycan ligands could facilitate lectin binding to other low-affinity glycan ligands, even though these low-affinity ligands are barely detectable in microarrays with immobilized glycan ligands. Such heteromultivalent binding processes significantly change lectin binding behaviors. We hypothesize that living organisms probably utilize this mechanism to regulate the downstream lectin functions. Our finding not only offers a mechanism to describe the concept that lectins are pattern recognition molecules, but also suggests that the two overlooked parameters, surface diffusion of glycan ligand and lectin binding kinetics, can play important roles in glycobiology processes. In this paper, we identified the critical parameters that influence the heteromultivalent binding process. We also discussed how our discovery can impact the current lectin-glycan analysis.

published proceedings

  • Glycobiology

author list (cited authors)

  • Choi, H., Lee, D., Singla, A., Kwon, J., & Wu, H.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Choi, Hyun-Kyu||Lee, Dongheon||Singla, Akshi||Kwon, Joseph Sang-Il||Wu, Hung-Jen

publication date

  • May 2019