Extracts of Bradyrhizobium japonicum were fractionated on Sepharose columns covalently derivatized with lactose. Elution of the material that was specifically bound to the affinity column with lactose yielded a protein of Mr approximately 38,000. Isoelectric focusing of this sample yielded two spots with pI values of 6.4 and 6.8. This protein specifically bound to galactose-containing glycoconjugates, but did not bind either to glucose or mannose. Derivatives of galactose at the C-2 position showed much weaker binding; there was an 18-fold difference in the relative binding affinities of galactose versus N-acetyl-D-galactosamine. These results indicate that we have purified a newly identified carbohydrate-binding protein from Bradyrhizobium japonicum, that can exquisitely distinguish galactose from its derivatives at the C-2 position.

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