Weak self-association in a carbohydrate system

Trushar R. Patel, Stephen E. Harding, Anna Ebringerova, Marcin Deszczynski, Zdenka Hromadkova, Adiaratou Togola, Berit Smestad Paulsen, Gordon A. Morris, Arthur J. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The physiological importance of weak interactions between biological macromolecules (molar dissociation constants >10 μM) is now well recognized, particularly with regard to cell adhesion and immunological phenomena, and many weak interactions have been measured for proteins. The concomitant importance of carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions has also been identified, although no weak interaction between pure carbohydrate systems has ever been measured. We now demonstrate for the first time to our knowledge using a powerful probe for weak interactions - sedimentation velocity in the analytical ultracentrifuge - that at least some carbohydrates (from the class of polysaccharides known as heteroxylans and demonstrated here to be biologically active) can show well-defined weak self-interactions of the "monomer- dimer" type frequently found in protein systems. The weak interaction between the heteroxylans is shown from a temperature dependence study to be likely to be hydrophobic in nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-749
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


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