An important finding has been published today in Chemistry - A European Journal by Filipa Marcelo, from the Bio-NMR group at UCIBIO in Lisbon, led by Eurico Cabrita, professor at the Chemistry Department at FCT-UNL. The paper was recommended as a Very Important Paper by the Journal, according to the excellent evaluation of the referees.
This study decipher, for the first time, the fine structural features of the molecular recognition process between tumor-associated mucin glycopeptides and the human macrophage galactoses-type lectin (MGL), an important lectin involved in cancer. Filipa Marcelo explains that this is experimentally possible by using NMR spectroscopy, a technique that has proved to be notably useful to obtain structural insights into the solution structure and dynamics of ligand-protein complexes.
To further depict the fine-structural insights in the interactions of these tumor-associated mucin glycopeptides and the lectin, a strategic combination of glycopeptides synthesis and recombinant protein production with NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling was used, says Filipa.
A strong collaboration with researchers from Madrid (Spain), Sapporo (Japan) and Munich (Germany) was very important for the success of this work.
Filipa emphasizes the prominence of her study explaining that by acquiring fine structural information of how these glycans interact with MGL represent an important step toward the structure-based design of novel anticancer vaccines. For Filipa an important step towards this aim will consist to rationalize at the molecular level the interactions between tumour-associated motifs and their cancer-related antibodies, using the same methodology applied in the present study.
The publication has been accepted today and is available online: