Lectin-Carbohydrate Interactions in Model and Biological Membrane Systems

Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 14)


Many of the diverse activities of cells are manifested at the cell surface; that is, the start of many intracellular events find their origin in a signal triggered at the cell surface. Such a response may arise from the specific attachment of macromolecules to carbohydrate-bearing molecules (glycolipids and glycoproteins), which are abundantly present at the outer surface of the plasma membrane. Typical examples include the operation of hormones and toxins (Kelly et al., 1979; Neville and Hudson, 1986; Ross and Gilman, 1980). Glycoconjugates, covalently linked to either lipids or proteins, also mediate the attachment of certain viruses, representing the initial event in the viral entry mechanism that eventually may lead to infection (Bächi et al., 1977; Hoekstra et al., 1988; White et al, 1983). Secretory processes (Ling et al., 1985), mitogenic effects (Rosoff et al., 1987), myotube production from myoblasts (Cates et al., 1984; Knudsen, 1985), and the formation of multinucleate macrophages during the inflammatory response (Papadimitriou, 1978) further illustrate the variety of cell surface mediated responses. The origin of these events can be traced back to a specific association between external macromolecules and cell surface glycolipids and/or glycoproteins that act as a specific receptor and transmitting unit for these responses. The diversity, specificity, and frequency by which these responses occur throughout the biological life of the cell also dictate that the macromolecule itself, which recognizes the specific code provided by the carbohydrate part of the receptor, displays a high degree of specificity.


Sialic Acid Head Group Phosphatidic Acid Wheat Germ Agglutinin Phospholipid Vesicle 
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.





concanavalin A


Croton tiglium lectin




differential scanning calorimetry


ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid






galactosylceramide, Galβ1-lCer




trihexosylceramide, Galα1-4Galβ1-4G1cβ1-1 Cer


globoside, GalNAcβ1-3Galα1-4Galβ1-4Glcβ1-1Cer




Neu Acα2-8NeuAcα2-3Galβ1-4Glcβ1-1Cer






glucosylceramide, Gluβ1-lCer






lactosylceramide, Galβ1-4Gluβ1-1Cer





NANA or NeuAc

N-acetylneuraminic acid


phosphatidic acid








Ricinus communis agglutinin


soy bean agglutinin


wheat germ agglutinin


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© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Physiological ChemistryUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Cancer Research Institute and Department of Pharmaceutical ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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