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We have obtained the X-ray crystal structure of the galectin-8 N-terminal domain (galectin-8N) with a previously reported quinoline-galactoside ligand at a resolution of 1.6 Å. Based on this X-ray structure, a collection of galactosides derivatised at O3 with triazole, benzimidazole, benzothiazole, and benzoxazole moieties were designed and synthesised. This led to the discovery of a 3-O-(N-methylbenzimidazolylmethyl)-galactoside with a Kd of 1.8 μM for galectin-8N, the most potent selective synthetic galectin-8N ligand to date. Molecular dynamics simulations showed that benzimidazole-galactoside derivatives bind the non-conserved amino acid Gln47, accounting for the higher selectivity for galectin-8N. Galectin-8 is a carbohydrate-binding protein that plays a key role in pathological lymphangiogenesis, modulation of the immune system, and autophagy. Thus, the benzimidazole-derivatised galactosides represent promising compounds for studies of the pathological implications of galectin-8, as well as a starting point for the development of anti-tumour and anti-inflammatory therapeutics targeting galectin-8. Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.. All rights reserved.


Mujtaba Hassan, Sjors van Klaveren, Maria Håkansson, Carl Diehl, Rebeka Kovačič, Floriane Baussière, Anders P Sundin, Jaka Dernovšek, Björn Walse, Fredrik Zetterberg, Hakon Leffler, Marko Anderluh, Tihomir Tomašič, Žiga Jakopin, Ulf J Nilsson. Benzimidazole-galactosides bind selectively to the Galectin-8 N-Terminal domain: Structure-based design and optimisation. European journal of medicinal chemistry. 2021 Nov 05;223:113664

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PMID: 34225180

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