Because carbohydrates and proteins bind with such low affinity, the nature of their interactions is not clear. Photoaffinity labeling with diazirin groups is useful for elucidating the roles of carbohydrates in these binding processes. However, when carbohydrate probes are synthesized according to this conventional method, the reducing terminus of the sugar is opened to provide an acyclic structure. Because greater elucidation of carbohydrate-protein interactions requires a closed-ring carbohydrate in addition to the photoreactive group, we synthesized new molecular tools. The carbohydrate ligands were synthesized in three steps (glycosylation with allyl alcohol, deprotection, and ozonolysis). Specific binding proteins for carbohydrate ligands were obtained by photoaffinity labeling. Closed ring-type carbohydrate ligands, in which the reducing sugar is closed, bound to lectins more strongly than open ring-type sugars. Carbohydrate to protein binding was observed using AFM.
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