Planta

, Volume 211, Issue 4, pp 546–554

Fruit-specific lectins from banana and plantain

  • Willy J. Peumans
  • Wenling Zhang
  • Annick Barre
  • Corinne Houlès Astoul
  • Peter J. Balint-Kurti
  • Paula Rovira
  • Pierre Rougé
  • Gregory D. May
  • Fred Van Leuven
  • Paolo Truffa-Bachi
  • Els J. M. Van Damme

Abstract.

 One of the predominant proteins in the pulp of ripe bananas (Musa acuminata L.) and plantains (Musa spp.) has been identified as a lectin. The banana and plantain agglutinins (called BanLec and PlanLec, respectively) were purified in reasonable quantities using a novel isolation procedure, which prevented adsorption of the lectins onto insoluble endogenous polysaccharides. Both BanLec and PlanLec are dimeric proteins composed of two identical subunits of 15 kDa. They readily agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes and exhibit specificity towards mannose. Molecular cloning revealed that BanLec has sequence similarity to previously described lectins of the family of jacalin-related lectins, and according to molecular modelling studies has the same overall fold and three-dimensional structure. The identification of BanLec and PlanLec demonstrates the occurrence of jacalin-related lectins in monocot species, suggesting that these lectins are more widespread among higher plants than is actually believed. The banana and plantain lectins are also the first documented examples of jacalin-related lectins, which are abundantly present in the pulp of mature fruits but are apparently absent from other tissues. However, after treatment of intact plants with methyl jasmonate, BanLec is also clearly induced in leaves. The banana lectin is a powerful murine T-cell mitogen. The relevance of the mitogenicity of the banana lectin is discussed in terms of both the physiological role of the lectin and the impact on food safety.

Key words: Fruit lectins – Jacalin – Lectin – Mannose –Musa– Plantain 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willy J. Peumans
    • 1
  • Wenling Zhang
    • 1
  • Annick Barre
    • 2
  • Corinne Houlès Astoul
    • 2
  • Peter J. Balint-Kurti
    • 3
  • Paula Rovira
    • 4
  • Pierre Rougé
    • 2
  • Gregory D. May
    • 3
  • Fred Van Leuven
    • 5
  • Paolo Truffa-Bachi
    • 4
  • Els J. M. Van Damme
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Phytopathology and Plant Protection, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Willem de Croylaan 42, B-3001 Leuven, BelgiumBE
  2. 2.Institut de Pharmacologie et Biologie Structurale, UPR CNRS 9062, 205 Route de Narbonne, F-31077 Toulouse Cedex, FranceFR
  3. 3.Plant Biology Division, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Inc., 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK 73402, USAUS
  4. 4.Unité d'Immunophysiologie Moléculaire, CNRS LA 1961, Département d'Immunologie, Institut Pasteur, 25 Rue du Dr. Roux, F-75724 Paris Cedex 15, FranceFR
  5. 5.Center for Human Genetics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Herestraat 49, B-3001 Leuven, BelgiumBE

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