Select lectins have powerful anti-viral properties that effectively neutralize HIV-1 by targeting the dense glycan shield on the virus. Here, we reveal the mechanism by which one of the most potent lectins, BanLec, achieves its inhibition. We identify that BanLec recognizes a subset of high-mannose glycans via bidentate interactions spanning the two binding sites present on each BanLec monomer that were previously considered separate carbohydrate recognition domains. We show that both sites are required for high-affinity glycan binding and virus neutralization. Unexpectedly we find that BanLec adopts a tetrameric stoichiometry in solution whereby the glycan-binding sites are positioned to optimally target glycosylated viral spikes. The tetrameric architecture, together with bidentate binding to individual glycans, leads to layers of multivalency that drive viral neutralization through enhanced avidity effects. These structural insights will prove useful in engineering successful lectin therapeutics targeting the dense glycan shield of HIV.
Keywords: BanLec; Env; HIV; glycosylation; lectin.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.