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Any of various proteins or glycoproteins that bind to the sugar molecules of glycoproteins and glucolipids on the surfaces of cells and are found in most organisms, especially plants. They are used to stimulate lymphocyte proliferation and to agglutinate red blood cells.

[Latin lēctus, past participle of legere, to select; see select + -in.]


(Biochemistry) a type of protein possessing high affinity for a specific sugar; lectins are often highly toxic
[C20: from Latin lectus, past participle of legere to select + -in]


(ˈlɛk tɪn)

any of a group of proteins that bind to specific carbohydrates and act as an agglutinin.
[1954; < Latin lēct(us), past participle of legere to gather, select, read + -in1]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.lectin - any of several plant glycoproteins that act like specific antibodies but are not antibodies in that they are not evoked by an antigenic stimulus
glycoprotein - a conjugated protein having a carbohydrate component
References in periodicals archive ?
Effect of plant lectins on the larval development of European corn borer (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae) and Southern corn rootworm (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae).
The compound that binds to a C-type lectin is preferably chosen from mannose, fucose, plant lectins, antibiotics, sugars, proteins or antibodies against C-type lectins.
In some cases plant lectins have been shown to be able to act as opsonins in invertebrate phagocyte systems, and concanavalin A receptors have been described on oyster hemocytes (Sami et al.
This work highlights the need for a much greater understanding of the interactions between plant lectins and human glycoproteins (sugar proteins) before they can be safely incorporated into the food chain.
We're trying to determine if plant lectins cause a similar response in humans," Hein says.
Plant lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins with non-immune origin with at least one non-catalytic domain that binds reversibly to specific monosaccharides or oligosaccharides (Lam and Ng 2011).
Plant lectins are a group of highly diverse non-immune origin proteins ubiquitously distributed in a variety of plant species and they contain at least one non-catalytic domain that enables them to selectively recognize and reversibly bind to specific free sugars or glycans present on glycoproteins and glycolipids without altering the structure of the carbohydrate (Van Damme et al.