Synthesis of biotinylated glycoconjugates and their use in a novel ELISA for direct comparison of HIV-1 gp120 recognition of GalCer and related carbohydrate analogues

Katherine D. McReynolds, Michael J. Hadd, Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


As part of our program directed toward the design and synthesis of high-affinity ligands for the GalCer-binding site on the HIV cell surface glycoprotein, gp120, we required a reliable method for qualitatively assessing relative binding affinities for related analogues. Due to the hydrophilic nature of these synthetic conjugates, difficulties were encountered with typical ELISA methods, which rely upon hydrophobic interactions to anchor the ligand to a microtiter plate. Other types of assays were also problematic due to nonspecific binding of gpl20. Therefore, we developed a general method for plating water-soluble ligands on microtiter plates using biotin/NeutrAvidin recognition for adhesion. A water-soluble GalCer analogue was prepared by conjugating psychosine to biotin using a novel tetraethylene glycol linker. In a similar manner, LacCer and GlcCer analogues were prepared and these conjugates were plated into microtiter wells containing NeutrAvidin. Unoccupied sites were blocked using biotin functionalized as a primary amide. Gp120 binding to galactosyl sphingosine, GalSph (19), GlcSph (22), and LacSph (23) conjugates was assessed through incubation with recombinant HRP-gp120. It was determined that LacSph has the strongest interaction with gp120. The binding affinities of GalSph and GlcSph were similar to each other and less strong than LacSph. These data contradict earlier studies where HPTLC showed that LacCer and GlcCer do not significantly bind gp120. They also contradict liposome-based assays that reported psychosine is not recognized by gp120. The extent of plating for each biotinylated molecule was quantified using HRP-biotin, allowing direct comparison of ligand plating efficiencies for the first time. Several other synthetic biotin conjugates were prepared and tested, demonstrating the feasibility of performing ELISA on water-soluble ligands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1031
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry

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