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Dissecting the cholera toxin-ganglioside GM1 interaction by isothermal titration calorimetry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve Homans


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The complex of cholera toxin and ganglioside GM1 is one of the highest affinity protein−carbohydrate interactions known. Herein, the GM1 pentasaccharide is dissected into smaller fragments to determine the contribution of each of the key monosaccharide residues to the overall binding affinity. Displacement isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has allowed the measurement of all of the key thermodynamic parameters for even the lowest affinity fragment ligands. Analysis of the standard free energy changes using Jencks' concept of intrinsic free energies reveals that the terminal galactose and sialic acid residues contribute 54% and 44% of the intrinsic binding energy, respectively, despite the latter ligand having little appreciable affinity for the toxin. This analysis also provides an estimate of 25.8 kJ mol-1 for the loss of independent translational and rotational degrees of freedom on complexation and presents evidence for an alternative binding mode for ganglioside GM2. The high affinity and selectivity of the GM1−cholera toxin interaction originates principally from the conformational preorganization of the branched pentasaccharide rather than through the effect of cooperativity, which is also reinvestigated by ITC.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Turnbull WB, Precious BL, Homans SW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the American Chemical Society

Year: 2004

Volume: 126

Issue: 4

Pages: 1047-1054

ISSN (print): 0002-7863

ISSN (electronic): 1943-2984

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/ja0378207


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