Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins present in nearly all plants and a few animals as well. The word Lectins originated from a Latin word called ‘Legree,’ which means to select or pick. Lectins do not create any antigenic stimulation inside the immune system, but they do have the necessary capacity to bind analogously to an antibody.
Lectin Conjugates are proteins (building blocks) that bind to cells and specific lectins carbohydrate groups on proteins or cell membrane proteins. They are further divided into classes based on their amino acid sequences and biochemical properties. Lectins have 120 amino acids that are responsible for carbohydrate binding.
Lectins are proteins with a high amount of stereo particularity to recognize various sugar structures and form reversible linkages upon interaction with glycoconjugate complexes. These are abundantly found in plant lectins, animal lectins, and many other species known to agglutinate various erythrocytes blood groups.
Lectin is used to study cell surfaces glycoproteins in glycobiology due to this particular carbohydrate binding. Lectins are produced in laboratories where they have been isolated from either plant or animal components.
Lectins allow researchers to study a wide variety of biological activities and processes. Some Lectins bind to mannose or glucose residue due to their complex binding requirements, while others bind only to galactose residues. Some types of lectin also require sugar-binding in specific positions in the oligosaccharides.
Lectin proteins are extensively used in biomedical applications with the property to recognize carbohydrates through carbohydrate-binding sites, which identify glycans attached to cell surfaces, glycoconjugates, or free sugars, detecting abnormal cells and biomarkers related to diseases.
Some diversified infectious agents and diseases affect the human species and the chain reaction of consequences. The biotechnological field has searched biorecognition molecules from natural or recombinant sources with diagnostic and therapeutic potential. Numerous algal lectins also attracted a considerable amount of attention for biomedical applications, including antinociceptive, anti-HIV, antitumoral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities.
Molecular and Cellular biology Applications
1. Lactin Induced Mechanisms of Immunological and Inflammatory Responses: Immunological and inflammatory responses play a significant role in protecting the organism against an invasive agent and transformed cells. The immune system acts straight through two ways most familiar as innate immunity and adaptive immune responses, activated by a number of cells and molecules, promoting the destruction or inactivation of an aggressive agent.
There are basophils, neutrophils, eosinophils and monocytes/macrophages, with specific functions and abilities to release and produce molecules named cytokines. Cytokines can modulate immune cells inflammation, humoral response and activation. Lectins are also evaluated in controlling the host and vectors from parasites and viruses.
2. Lectins for Healing Applications: Many medicine researchers have noted healing results and effects stimulated by lectins. Healing is the process of tissue repair after trauma. A monitored group of cells and molecules trigger ordered phases to result in anatomical and functional restoration of injured tissues.
The important role of lectins as a healing agent is not entirely clear; nonetheless, lectins may determine the immune response, inflammatory response, production of cytokines and cell antiproliferative effect during the healing process. Lectins have promoted healing effect in cutaneous wounds and modification of the scarring process, with excellent results and therapeutic potential.
3.Lectins for Drug Delivery: Therapies using chemical agents have some barriers, mainly regarding increasing dosages and action of metabolism, which reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Systems for delivering drugs to a specific target may constitute exciting and practical strategies to troubleshoot these problems and minimize adverse side effects. Lectins should be of avid mannose-binding lectin, low toxicity, and site-specific molecules to be a potential tool for drug delivery.
4.Lectins as Histochemical Markers: The glycan moieties covering cell surfaces are involved in many physiological and pathological processes. Disturbances in the cell environment related to diseases frequently trigger changes in glycans]. This technique has been an approach for research, diagnosis, and prognosis of human diseases acknowledged by altered cells in tissues, such as cancer.
Lectin histochemistry is an attractive approach to mark transformed tissues and pathological events such as metastasis. Displaying differential lectin binding patterns that may distinguish between normal, benign, and malign tumours in disparted grades. Lectins employed to investigate the glycan profile in transformed tissues constitute useful tools for cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
5.Lectin-Based Biosensors for Disease Detection: Lectin-based biosensors have been developed to identify and quantify glycans. These systems are based on converting lectin-carbohydrate interactions into a measurable signal on a surface, allowing the measurement of biomarkers.
In conformity with a single type of biosensing and transduction methods can be electrochemical, optical, mass, and thermal. However, the electrochemical biosensor is more attractive since it is practical, rapid, user-friendly and easy-to-use assays available in distinct designs and analytical performance. Electrochemical lectin positioned biosensors are more attractive as analytical tools of glycans and their application in finding pathogens and diagnosing diseases reported through the detection of biomarkers.
6.Lectins as Anticancer Agents: Lectins from several origins exert cytotoxic effects such as activation of cell death pathways and inhibition of proliferation on different types of cancer cells. Besides, many anticancer lectins usually possess low cytotoxicity to nontransformed cells. This fact is probably associated with the distinct expression of glycans on the surface of cancer and normal cells, allowing lectins specifically to recognize malignant cells.
Lectins from diverse sources with different carbohydrate recognition events have essential roles for many biotechnological applications and disease therapies. Lectins certainly have protective outcomes against microorganisms and viruses; it is a potent modulator of mitosis, immune response, proliferation, drug-delivery therapies, cancer regression and healing.
The altered glycans on tissue or cell surfaces and serum samples can be located using lectin-based techniques, such as biosensors, and histochemistry which can detect diseases and infectious agents. Therefore, the achievements attributed to lectins are focused on biotechnological/pharmacological and therapeutic applications, being a valuable resource for more studies about the biological effects, pathways, and biotechnological potential of lectins.
Contact the experts at Helvetica Health Care for more information on the molecular and cellular application of lectins conjugates.