, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 75–82 | Cite as

Isolation and partial characterization of a lectin from ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) rhizomes

  • Willy J. Peumans
  • Makuta Nsimba-Lubaki
  • Ben Peeters
  • Willem F. Broekaert


A lectin has been isolated from rhizomes of ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) using a combination of affinity chromatography on erythrocyte membrane proteins immobilized on cross-linked agarose and hydroxyapatite, and ion-exchange chromatography. The molecular structure of the lectin was determined by gelfiltration, sucrose density-gradient centrifugation and gel electrophoresis under denaturing conditions. It has an unusually high Mr (about 480000) and is most probably an octamer composed of two distinct types of subunits with slightly different Mr (about 60000). Hapten inhibition assays indicated that the Aegopodium lectin is preferentially inhibited by N-acetylgalactosamine. Nevertheless, it does not agglutinate preferentially blood-group-A erythrocytes. The ground-elder lectin is a typical non-seed lectin, which occurs virtually exclusively in the underground rhizomes. In this organ it is an abundant protein as it represents up to 5% of the total protein content. The lectin content of the rhizome tissue varies strongly according to its particular location along the organ. In addition, the lectin content changes dramatically as a function of the seasons. The ground-elder lectin differs from all other plant lectins by its unusually high molecular weight. In addition, it is the first lectin to be isolated from a species of the family Apiaceae.

Key words

Aegopodium Lectin N-acetylgalactosamine Rhizome (lectin) 



Aegopodium podagraria agglutinin


phosphate-buffered saline


sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willy J. Peumans
    • 1
  • Makuta Nsimba-Lubaki
    • 1
  • Ben Peeters
    • 2
  • Willem F. Broekaert
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorium voor PlantenbiochemieKatholicke Universiteit LeuvenLeuven (Heverlee)
  2. 2.Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Department voor Humane BiologieUniversitair Ziekenhuis GasthuisbergLeuven (Heverlee)Belgium

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