Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are highly specific for sugar groups.


They cause agglutination of particular cells or precipitation of glycoconjugates and polysaccharides. 



Lectins have a role in the biological recognition involving cells, carbohydrates, and proteins.



Lectins also mediate attachment and binding of bacteria, viruses, and fungi to their intended targets.



They are ubiquitous in nature.



 Lectins are found in many foods. 



Some foods, such as beans and grains, need to be cooked or fermented to reduce lectin content. 



Some lectins are beneficial, such as CLEC11A.



CLEC11A promotes bone growth.



Some lectins may be powerful toxins such as ricin.



Lectins can be disabled by mono- and oligosaccharides.



When lectins are ingested mono- and oligosaccharides


from grains, legumes,  plants, and dairy bind to them.



Such binding prevents their subsequent attachment to the carbohydrates within the cell membrane. 



Lectins means that they are useful for analyzing blood types.



Lectins may bind to a soluble carbohydrate or to a carbohydrate moiety that is a part of a glycoprotein or glycolipid. 



Lectins play important roles in the innate immune system. 



Lectins help mediate the first-line defense against invading microorganisms, and immune lectins likely modulate inflammatory and autoreactive processes.



Intelectins bind microbial glycans and may function in the innate immune system as well. 



Pathogens including virus particles and bacteria often express surface lectins that are adhesins and hemagglutinins that bind to tissue-specific glycans on host cell-surface glycoproteins and glycolipids to avoid clearance from the body by the innate immune system, 



Purified lectins are used for blood typing: 



A1 blood group.



H blood group antigen.



N blood group antigen.



M blood group antigen.



The protein ricin is a lectin  isolated from seeds of the castor oil plant, it inhibits protein synthesis and causes cell death.



Many foods contain the lectin proteins. 



Lectins can be harmful if under cooked or consumed in great quantities. 



They are most potent/toxic when raw: boiling, stewing or soaking in water for several hours can render most lectins inactive. 



The oldest and healthiest people in the world tend to subsist largely on plant-based diets, which often include lectins in abundance.



Lectins may interfere with absorption of some minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. 



Lectin binding  to cells in the digestive tract may disrupt the breakdown and absorptions of some nutrients, and may play a role in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes. 



Raw kidney beans naturally contain toxic levels of lectin.



Lectins are a major family of protein antinutrients, which are specific sugar-binding proteins exhibiting reversible carbohydrate-binding activities.



Lectins are similar to antibodies in their ability to agglutinate red blood cells.



Many legume seeds have been proven to contain high lectin activity of  hemagglutination.



Soybean seeds contain high activity of soybean lectins.






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