Patel, T. R., Harding, S. E., Ebringerova, A., Deszczynski, M., Hromadkova, Z., Togola, A., Paulsen, B. S., Morris, Gordon and Rowe, A. J. (2007) Weak self-association in a carbohydrate system. Biophysical Journal, 93 (3). pp. 741-749. ISSN 0006-3495

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The physiological importance of weak interactions between biological macromolecules (molar dissociation constants >10 μM) is now well recognized, particularly with regard to cell adhesion and immunological phenomena, and many weak interactions have been measured for proteins. The concomitant importance of carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions has also been identified, although no weak interaction between pure carbohydrate systems has ever been measured. We now demonstrate for the first time to our knowledge using a powerful probe for weak interactions - sedimentation velocity in the analytical ultracentrifuge - that at least some carbohydrates (from the class of polysaccharides known as heteroxylans and demonstrated here to be biologically active) can show well-defined weak self-interactions of the "monomer- dimer" type frequently found in protein systems. The weak interaction between the heteroxylans is shown from a temperature dependence study to be likely to be hydrophobic in nature. © 2007 by the Biophysical Society.

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