Wedgelike glycodendrimers as inhibitors of binding of mammalian galectins to glycoproteins, lactose maxiclusters, and cell surface glycoconjugates

Sabine André, Roland J. Pieters, Ioannis Vrasidas, Herbert Kaltner, Ichiro Kuwabara, Fu-Tong Liu, Rob M.J. Liskamp, Hans Joachim Gabius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

205 Scopus citations


Galectins are mammalian carbohydrate-binding proteins that are involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, cell migration, and growth regulation with relevance to inflammation and tumor spread. These important functions account for the interest to design suitable low molecular weight inhibitors that match the distinct modes of presentation of the carbohydrate recognition domains of the different galectin subfamilies. Using 3,5-di-(2-aminoethoxy)benzoic acid as the branching unit, wedgelike glycodendrimers with two, four, and eight lactose moieties (G1-G3) were synthesized. They were tested in solid-phase competition assays with lactose maxiclusters and various H-glycan branching profiles (miniclusters) as the matrix and also in cell assays. Prototype galectins-1 and -7, chimera-type galectin-3, a plant (AB)2 toxin, and a lactose-binding immunoglobulin G fraction from human serum were the carbohydrate-binding targets. Potent inhibition and remarkable cluster effects were seen for the homodimeric galectin-1, especially in combination with biantennary N-glycans as the matrix. Remarkably, for the tetravalent G2 glycodendrimer, the inhibitory potency of each lactose unit reached a maximum value of 1667 relative to free lactose. In haemagglutination experiments as a model for cell adhesion, galectin-3 was markedly sensitive to increased sugar valency and a relative potency per lactose of 150 was reached. The spatial orientation of the carbohydrate recognition domains of the endogenous lectins and the branching pattern of the carbohydrates of the glycoprotein matrices used are both important factors in the design and synthesis of glycodendrimers with galectin-selective properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-830
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001



  • Cell recognition
  • Dendrimes
  • Drug research
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Lectins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry

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