Lectins are sugar-binding proteins found in plants, fungi, microorganisms, and animals. They bind glycoconjugates in much the same way as antibodies bind antigens. As a result, researchers use lectins to explore a myriad of biological structures and processes.
Lectins bind specific carbohydrate structures, so you can use them in glycobiology to:
Separate oligosaccharides, even those with identical sugar compositions
Discriminate between oligosaccharide structures
Isolate a specific glycoconjugate, cell, or virus from a mixture
Some lectins can induce mitosis, so you can use them to investigate the process of lymphocyte blastogenesis and the biochemical and structural alterations associated with mitogenesis. These important applications include lymphokine production and viral coat protein (eg gp120) isolation.
Vector Laboratories — a leader in lectins and other glycobiology products
At Vector Laboratories, we employ crystallization, precipitation, and chromatographic procedures as well as affinity chromatography to purify our lectins. We monitor the purification process carefully and assess the final product through:
Immunoprecipitation with antisera
Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
Binding activity to specific affinity columns
We do this to ensure you have the best lectins available on the market.
Validation data for Vector's Lectins
A selection of Vector Laboratories’ lectin products is validated by the National Center for Functional Glycomics (NCFG) using the Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) glycan arrays. The NCFG analyzes the glycan specificity of each lectin lot and makes the data available to the public on the NCFG website.
Lectins and Coronavirus Research
A current topical use of lectins is in coronavirus research. There are 20-30 sites of glycosylation on the S protein, which is responsible for mediating attachment of the virus to the host cell. Mannose binding lectins have been shown to interfere with this attachment, and N- and O- glycosylation of either the SARS CoV-2 spike protein or host receptor can have a dramatic effect on the mechanism of viral entry.
Further reading can be found here, and in the lectin guide below.