Quantification of binding affinity of glyconanomaterials with lectins
Carbohydrate-mediated interactions are involved in many cellular activities including immune responses and infections. These interactions are relatively weak, and as such, cells employ multivalency, i.e., the presentation of multiple monovalent carbohydrate ligands within a close proximity, for cooperative binding thus drastically enhanced binding affinity. In the past two decades, the field of glyconanomaterials has emerged where nanomaterials are used as multivalent scaffolds to present multiple copies of carbohydrate ligands on the nanomaterial surface. At the core of glyconanomaterial research is the ability to control and modulate multivalency through ligand display. For the quantitative evaluation of multivalency, the binding affinity must be determined. Quantification of the binding parameters provides insights for not only the fundamental glyconanomaterial–lectin interactions, but also the rational design of effective diagnostics and therapeutics. Several methods have been developed to determine the binding affinity of glyconanomaterials with lectins, including fluorescence competitive assays in solution or on microarrays, Förster resonance energy transfer, fluorescence quenching, isothermal titration calorimetry, surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, quartz crystal microbalance and dynamic light scattering. This Feature Article discusses each of these techniques, as well as how each technique is applied to determine the binding affinity of glyconanomaterials with lectins, and the data analysis. Although the results differed depending on the specific method used, collectively, they showed that nanomaterials as multivalent scaffolds could amplify the binding affinity of carbohydrate–lectin interactions by several orders of magnitude, the extent of which depending on the structure of the carbohydrate ligand, the ligand density, the linker length and the particle size.