A Guide for Carbohydrate Specificities of Lectins

  • Albert M. Wu
  • Shunji Sugii
  • Anthony Herp
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 228)


Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins of nonimmune origin, which have been widely used in the fields of cell biology, biochemistry and histochemistry to isolate and/or to characterize cell surface carbohydrates(1–3). Lectins require configurational and structural complementarity of sugars for interaction to occur. All lectin molecules have two or more carbohydrate binding sites, a property essential to their ability to agglutinate cells or to precipitate complex carbohydrates(1, 2, 4). Until the early seventies, the carbohydrate specificities of lectins were mainly determined by the abilities of monosaccharides or their glycosides to inhibit lectin-induced haemagglutination(1, 4). Mäkelä(5), in the late fifties, divided lectin-reactive monosaccharides into four classes, based on their configuration at C-3 and C-4 of the pyranose form, as shown in Fig. 1. Lectins that bind to Mäkelä’s group II sugars are Gal-specific whereas those reacting with sugars of group III are Man and/or Glc-specific lectins. Fucose-binding lectins are specific for group I sugars. Lectins binding sugars belonging to group IV have not yet been reported.


Horseshoe Crab Helix Pomatia Immunochemical Study Specific Lectin Chitin Oligosaccharide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.








LFuc or Fuc








chitin oligosaccharide

(GlcNAcβ1→4)n, repeat unit of GlcNAc


N-acetylneuraminic acid


N-glycolylneuraminic acid


carbohydrate residue






Galα1→6 Galα1→6Glcβ1→2Fruf


Glcβ1→4Glc, and Laminaribiose, Glcβ1→3Glc


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert M. Wu
    • 1
  • Shunji Sugii
    • 2
  • Anthony Herp
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary MedicineTexas A & M UniversityCollege StationTexasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Serology and Immunology, School of Medical TechnologyKitasato UniversitySagamihara, KanagawaJapan
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryNew York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

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