Some mannose-binding legume lectins show higher affinity for fucosylated glycans than for glycans without fucose. These lectins possess a secondary binding site. Owing to the possibility of additional fucose binding, oligosaccharides adopt different conformations depending on whether they contain fucose or not. To study these conformational differences, complexes of fucosylated and unfucosylated glycans with Lens culinaris lectin have been modeled. Starting points were X-ray structures of lentil lectin and complexes of the homologous Lathyrus ochrus lectin. The SYBYL molecular modeling package with the TRIPOS force field was used. Two different models were built, displaying in both a network of hydrogen bonds between rite saccharide and the binding site. Furthermore, to compare the free and bound ligand, conformational analysis in the free stare has been performed. A complete analysis of all possible disaccharide fragments has been performed using the MM3 force field. A CICADA analysis employing the same force field was carried out to study the complete oligosaccharide. Low-energy conformers found by CICADA were clustered in conformational families and analyzed in terms of flexibility and rotational barriers. All values of glycosidic torsion angles are in the range as calculated by MM3 for the disaccharides. (C) 1997 by Elsevier Science Inc.