Glycoconjugates comprise a variety of structures, include glycoproteins
and glycolipids and are found on the surfaces of animal and plant cells, as well as on
the surface of microorganisms. Determination of the structure and the distribution of
glycoconjugates on cell surfaces are important for the understanding their biological
function. Lectins are useful to investigate protein-carbohydrate interactions, because
they have specificity for defined carbohydrate structure. They have been implicated
in cell-to-cell recognition and signaling, blood group typing, in immune recognition
process, and various other biological processes, such as viral, bacterial, mycoplasmal
and parasitic infections, fertilization, cancer metastasis, growth and differentiation.
Once thought to be confined to plant seeds, lectins are now recognized as ubiquitous
in virtually all living systems, ranging from viruses and bacteria to animals. Plant
lectins provide a rich source of carbohydrate-recognizing protein reagents for
glycobiologists and biotechnologists. Biotechnology offers the therapeutic use of
lectin against certain life threatening diseases such as human immunodeficiency
virus and cancer. This review presents a comprehensive summary of research efforts
that focus on the actual and potential uses and advantages of using lectins to target
glycoproteins and also glycoproteins to target lectins.
Agglutinin, Agriculture, Anti-virus, Cancer, cell-to-cell signaling,
Con A, Dioclea violacea, drug targeting, galectins, Glycophorin A, glycoprotein,
Lectin, Mucin, nanoparticle, Psathyrella velutina, Proteomics profiling, Sambucus
nigra, Sialic acid, selectin, wheat germ agglutinin.
Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202 002, India.