A yeast glycolipid biosurfactant, mannosylerythritol lipid, shows high binding affinity towards lectins on a self-assembled monolayer system

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Mannosylerythritol lipids (MEL), which are glycolipid biosurfactants secreted by the Pseudozyma yeasts, show not only excellent surface-active properties but also versatile biochemical actions including antitumor and cell-differentiation activities. In order to address the biochemical actions, interactions between MEL-A, the major component of MEL, and different lectins were investigated using the surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. The monolayer of MEL-A showed high binding affinity to concanavalin A (ConA) and Maackia amurensis lectin-I (MAL-I). The observed affinity constants for ConA and MAL-I were estimated to be 9.48 ± 1.31 × 106 and 3.13 ± 0.274 × 106 M-1, respectively; the value was comparable to that of Manα1–6(Manα1–3)Man, which is one of the most specific probe to ConA. Significantly, α-methyl-D-mannopyranoside (1 mM) exhibited no binding inhibition between MEL-A and ConA. MEL-A is thus likely to self-assemble to give a high affinity surface, where ConA binds to the hydrophilic headgroup in a different manner from that generally observed in lectin-saccharide interactions. The binding manner should be related with the biochemical actions of MEL toward mammalian cells via protein-carbohydrate interactions.

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