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Caenorhabditis elegans N-glycan core beta-galactoside confers sensitivity towards nematotoxic fungal galectin CGL2.The physiological role of fungal galectins has remained elusive. Here, we show that feeding of a mushroom galectin, Coprinopsis cinerea CGL2, to Caenorhabditis elegans inhibited development and reproduction and ultimately resulted in killing of this nematode. The lack of toxicity of a carbohydrate-binding defective CGL2 variant and the resistance of a C. elegans mutant defective in GDP-fucose biosynthesis suggested that CGL2-mediated nematotoxicity depends on the interaction between the galectin and a fucose-containing glycoconjugate. A screen for CGL2-resistant worm mutants identified this glycoconjugate as a Galbeta1,4Fucalpha1,6 modification of C. elegans N-glycan cores. Analysis of N-glycan structures in wild type and CGL2-resistant nematodes confirmed this finding and allowed the identification of a novel putative glycosyltransferase required for the biosynthesis of this glycoepitope. The X-ray crystal structure of a complex between CGL2 and the Galbeta1,4Fucalpha1,6GlcNAc trisaccharide at 1.5 A resolution revealed the biophysical basis for this interaction. Our results suggest that fungal galectins play a role in the defense of fungi against predators by binding to specific glycoconjugates of these organisms.
Structural basis for species specific inhibition of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1): computational study and biological validation.17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1) catalyzes the reduction of estrone to estradiol, which is the most potent estrogen in humans. Inhibition of 17β-HSD1 and thereby reducing the intracellular estradiol concentration is thus a promising approach for the treatment of estrogen dependent diseases. In the past, several steroidal and non-steroidal inhibitors of 17β-HSD1 have been described but so far there is no cocrystal structure of the latter in complex with 17β-HSD1. However, a distinct knowledge of active site topologies and protein-ligand interactions is a prerequisite for structure-based drug design and optimization. An elegant strategy to enhance this knowledge is to compare inhibition values obtained for one compound toward ortholog proteins from various species, which are highly conserved in sequence and differ only in few residues. In this study the inhibitory potencies of selected members of different non-steroidal inhibitor classes toward marmoset 17β-HSD1 were determined and the data were compared with the values obtained for the human enzyme. A species specific inhibition profile was observed in the class of the (hydroxyphenyl)naphthols. Using a combination of computational methods, including homology modelling, molecular docking, MD simulation, and binding energy calculation, a reasonable model of the three-dimensional structure of marmoset 17β-HSD1 was developed and inhibition data were rationalized on the structural basis. In marmoset 17β-HSD1, residues 190 to 196 form a small α-helix, which induces conformational changes compared to the human enzyme. The docking poses suggest these conformational changes as determinants for species specificity and energy decomposition analysis highlighted the outstanding role of Asn152 as interaction partner for inhibitor binding. In summary, this strategy of comparing the biological activities of inhibitors toward highly conserved ortholog proteins might be an alternative to laborious x-ray or site-directed mutagenesis experiments in certain cases. Additionally, it facilitates inhibitor design and optimization by offering new information on protein-ligand interactions.