Protein toxins produced by bacteria are the cause of many life-threatening diarrheal diseases. Many of these toxins, including cholera toxin (CT), enter the cell by first binding to glycolipids in the cell membrane. Inhibiting these multivalent protein/carbohydrate interactions would prevent the toxin from entering cells and causing diarrhea. Here we demonstrate that the site-specific modification of a protein scaffold, which is perfectly matched in both size and valency to the target toxin, provides a convenient route to an effective multivalent inhibitor. The resulting pentavalent neoglycoprotein displays an inhibition potency (IC50) of 104 pm for the CT B-subunit (CTB), which is the most potent pentavalent inhibitor for this target reported thus far. Complexation of the inhibitor and CTB resulted in a protein heterodimer. This inhibition strategy can potentially be applied to many multivalent receptors and also opens up new possibilities for protein assembly strategies.
- carbohydrates;glycoproteins;multivalency;protein modifications;protein structures