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Sulfation pattern and molecular weight (MW) play a key role in the biological actions of sulfated glycans. Besides anticoagulant effects, certain sulfated glycans can also exhibit anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties. To develop a more selective antiviral carbohydrate, an efficient strategy to separate these two actions is required. In this work, low MW fractions derived from the red alga Botryocladia occidentalis sulfated galactan (BoSG) were generated, structurally characterized, and tested for activity against SARS-CoV-2 and blood coagulation. The lowest MW fraction was found to be primarily composed of octasaccharides of monosulfated monosaccharides. Unlike heparin or native BoSG, we found that hydrolyzed BoSG products had weak anticoagulant activities as seen by aPTT and inhibitory assays using purified cofactors. In contrast, lower MW BoSG-derivatives retained anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity using SARS-CoV-2 spike (S)-protein pseudotyped lentivirus vector in HEK-293T-hACE2 cells monitored by GFP. Surface plasmon resonance confirmed that longer chains are necessary for BoSG to interact with coagulation cofactors but is not required for interactions with certain S-protein variants. We observed distinct affinities of BoSG derivatives for the S-proteins of different SARS-CoV-2 strains, including WT, N501Y (Alpha), K417T/E484K/N501Y (Gamma), and L542R (Delta) mutants, and stronger affinity for the N501Y-containing variants. Docking of the four possible monosulfated BoSG disaccharides in interactions with the N501Y mutant S-protein predicted potential binding poses of the BoSG constructs and favorable binding in close proximity to the 501Y residue. Our results demonstrate that depolymerization and fractionation of BoSG are an effective strategy to segregate its anticoagulant property from its anti-SARS-CoV-2 action. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Seon Beom Kim, Mary Zoepfl, Priyanka Samanta, Fuming Zhang, Ke Xia, Reena Thara, Robert J Linhardt, Robert J Doerksen, Michael A McVoy, Vitor H Pomin. Fractionation of sulfated galactan from the red alga Botryocladia occidentalis separates its anticoagulant and anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2022 May;298(5):101856

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PMID: 35337800

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