Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 505–513 | Cite as

Paramagnetic NMR probes for characterization of the dynamic conformations and interactions of oligosaccharides

  • Koichi Kato
  • Takumi Yamaguchi


Paramagnetism-assisted nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques have recently been applied to a wide variety of biomolecular systems, using sophisticated immobilization methods to attach paramagnetic probes, such as spin labels and lanthanide-chelating groups, at specific sites of the target biomolecules. This is also true in the field of carbohydrate NMR spectroscopy. NMR analysis of oligosaccharides is often precluded by peak overlap resulting from the lack of variability of local chemical structures, by the insufficiency of conformational restraints from nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) data due to low proton density, and moreover, by the inherently flexible nature of carbohydrate chains. Paramagnetic probes attached to the reducing ends of oligosaccharides cause paramagnetic relaxation enhancements (PREs) and/or pseudocontact shifts (PCSs) resolve the peak overlap problem. These spectral perturbations can be sources of long-range atomic distance information, which complements the local conformational information derived from J couplings and NOEs. Furthermore, paramagnetic NMR approaches, in conjunction with computational methods, have opened up possibilities for the description of dynamic conformational ensembles of oligosaccharides in solution. Several applications of paramagnetic NMR techniques are presented to demonstrate their utility for characterizing the conformational dynamics of oligosaccharides and for probing the carbohydrate-recognition modes of proteins. These techniques can be applied to the characterization of transient, non-stoichiometric interactions and will contribute to the visualization of dynamic biomolecular processes involving sugar chains.


Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy Paramagnetic effect Conformational dynamics Oligosaccharide Lanthanide ion Spin label 



This study was partly supported by the Okazaki ORION project, JSPS/MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (25102008, 24249002, 26560451, 24750170 and 15 K17889) and the Nanotechnology Platform Program (Molecule and Material Synthesis).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Molecular Science and Okazaki Institute for Integrative BioscienceOkazakiJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesNagoya City UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.The Glycoscience InstituteOchanomizu UniversityTokyoJapan

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