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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Pregnancy-specific beta 1 glycoprotein (PSG1) is secreted from trophoblast cells of the human placenta in increasing concentrations as pregnancy progresses, becoming one of the most abundant proteins in maternal serum in the third trimester. PSG1 has seven potential N-linked glycosylation sites across its four domains. We carried out glycomic and glycoproteomic studies to characterize the glycan composition of PSG1 purified from serum of pregnant women and identified the presence of complex N-glycans containing poly LacNAc epitopes with α2,3 sialyation at four sites. Using different techniques, we explored whether PSG1 can bind to galectin-1 (Gal-1) as these two proteins were previously shown to participate in processes required for a successful pregnancy. We confirmed that PSG1 binds to Gal-1 in a carbohydrate-dependent manner with an affinity of the interaction of 0.13 μM. In addition, we determined that out of the three N-glycosylation-carrying domains, only the N and A2 domains of recombinant PSG1 interact with Gal-1. Lastly, we observed that the interaction between PSG1 and Gal-1 protects this lectin from oxidative inactivation and that PSG1 competes the ability of Gal-1 to bind to some but not all of its glycoprotein ligands. 
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  2. Galectins are a family of ß-galactoside-binding lectins characterized by a unique sequence motif in the carbohydrate recognition domain, and evolutionary and structural conservation from fungi to invertebrates and vertebrates, including mammals. Their biological roles, initially understood as limited to recognition of endogenous (“self”) carbohydrate ligands in embryogenesis and early development, dramatically expanded in later years by the discovery of their roles in tissue repair, cancer, adipogenesis, and regulation of immune homeostasis. In recent years, however, evidence has also accumulated to support the notion that galectins can bind (“non-self”) glycans on the surface of potentially pathogenic microbes, and function as recognition and effector factors in innate immunity. Thus, this evidence has established a newparadigm by which galectins can function not only as pattern recognition receptors but also as effector factors, by binding to the microbial surface and inhibiting adhesion and/or entry into the host cell, directly killing the potential pathogen by disrupting its surface structures, or by promoting phagocytosis, encapsulation, autophagy, and pathogen clearance from circulation. Strikingly, some viruses, bacteria, and protistan parasites take advantage of the aforementioned recognition roles of the vector/host galectins, for successful attachment and invasion. These recent findings suggest that galectin-mediated innate immune recognition and effector mechanisms, which throughout evolution have remained effective for preventing or fighting viral, bacterial, and parasitic infection, have been “subverted” by certain pathogens by unique evolutionary adaptations of their surface glycome to gain host entry, and the acquisition of effective mechanisms to evade the host’s immune responses. 
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  3. Abstract Galectins, highly conserved β-galactoside-binding lectins, have diverse regulatory roles in development and immune homeostasis and can mediate protective functions during microbial infection. In recent years, the role of galectins in viral infection has generated considerable interest. Studies on highly pathogenic viruses have provided invaluable insight into the participation of galectins in various stages of viral infection, including attachment and entry. Detailed mechanistic and structural aspects of these processes remain undetermined. To address some of these gaps in knowledge, we used Zebrafish as a model system to examine the role of galectins in infection by infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), a rhabdovirus that is responsible for significant losses in both farmed and wild salmonid fish. Like other rhabdoviruses, IHNV is characterized by an envelope consisting of trimers of a glycoprotein that display multiple N-linked oligosaccharides and play an integral role in viral infection by mediating the virus attachment and fusion. Zebrafish’s proto-typical galectin Drgal1-L2 and the chimeric-type galectin Drgal3-L1 interact directly with the glycosylated envelope of IHNV, and significantly reduce viral attachment. In this study, we report the structure of the complex of Drgal1-L2 with N-acetyl-d-lactosamine at 2.0 Å resolution. To gain structural insight into the inhibitory effect of these galectins on IHNV attachment to the zebrafish epithelial cells, we modeled Drgal3-L1 based on human galectin-3, as well as, the ectodomain of the IHNV glycoprotein. These models suggest mechanisms for which the binding of these galectins to the IHNV glycoprotein hinders with different potencies the viral attachment required for infection. 
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