Insight into Erythrina Lectins: Properties, Structure and Proposed Physiological Significance
Makarim Elfadil M. Osman, Emadeldin Hassan E. Konozy*
Biotechnology Park, Africa City of Technology, Khartoum, Sudan
The genus Erythrina, collectively known as “coral tree”, are pantropical plants, comprising of more than 112 species. Since the early 1980s, seven of these have been found to possess hemagglutinating activity, although not yet characterized. However, around two dozen galactose-binding lectins have been isolated and fully characterized with respect to their sugar specificity, glycoconjugates agglutination, dependence of activity on metal ions, primary and secondary structures and stability. Three lectins have been fully sequenced and the crystal structures of the two proteins have been solved with and without the haptenic sugar. Lectins isolation and characterization from most of these species usually originated from the seeds, although the proteins from other vegetative tissues have also been reported. The main objective of this review is to summarize the physicochemical and biological properties of the reported purified Erythrina lectins to date. Structural comparisons, based on available lectins sequences, are also made to relate the intrinsic physical and chemical properties of these proteins. Particular attention is also given to the proposed biological significance of the lectins from the genus Erythrina.
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