The hallmark of lectins is the ability to bind carbohydrates specifically and reversibly. Understanding the properties and functions of lectins, as well as using them for diverse purposes, requires knowledge of this specificity, which is the major topic of the present chapter. Several lectins combine also with non-carbohydrate ligands, either at their carbohydrate binding sites or at sites distinct from the latter. A few others possess enzymatic activity unrelated to their carbohydrate specificity. These will be discussed briefly at the end of the chapter.
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