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UCIBIO-NOVA researchers from the (Bio)Molecular Structure and interactions by NMR research Lab have just disclosed the molecular determinants that govern the recognition of the tumour and pathogenic glycobiomarker LacdiNAc by two human immune-related lectins. This detailed study provides the structural basis for the ligand specificity of hGal-3 and hMGL, which is also of high value for the design of mimetics that can selectively bind to these lectins and eventually modulate immune responses. The research work presented was developed in partnership with the XTAL – Macromolecular Crystallography research Lab at UCIBIO-NOVA and the Chemical Glycobiology research Lab (CICBiogune, Spain). The results were recently accepted for publication in the renowned Chemistry - A European Journal: “Structural insights into the molecular recognition mechanism of the cancer and pathogenic epitope, LacdiNAc by immune-related lectins”. This work was evaluated by the referees as a paper of great significance, a review recommendation that only 20% of the received manuscripts are awarded.

“I am very happy with the reviewer comments. These findings highlight the importance of an integrative collaborative research to obtain a detailed insight into the molecular determinants of glycan-lectins complexes, most of times so difficult to ascertain and only possible through the combination of efforts between different research groups” says Filipa Marcelo from the (Bio)Molecular Structure and interactions by NMR research Lab, led by Eurico Cabrita


Glycosylation is the most complex and widespread modification of proteins and lipids. Starting from a single sugar unit, glycans have the potential to generate a wide range of structures that constitute the most complex language of life: the glycome. From the interaction with distinct glycan receptors, such as lectins, the glycome information is read and translated into a multitude of biological signals in physiological and pathological events.


“Glycome is still in its infancy compared to the genome and proteome, therefore there are so many open questions still. In this context our results relevant to advance our knowledge in glycobiology and immunology and to potential develop glycan-based therapies” ends Filipa Marcelo. 


Scientific Publication

Structural insights into the molecular recognition mechanism of the cancer and pathogenic epitope, LacdiNAc by immune‐related lectins.
Chemistry - A European Journal, April 2021
Carlos D. L. Lima  Helena Coelho  Ana Gimeno  Filipa Trovão  Ana Diniz  Jorge S. Dias  Jesús Jiménez-Barbero  Francisco Corzana  Ana Luísa Carvalho  Eurico J. Cabrita  Filipa Marcelo
DOI: 10.1002/chem.202100800