Carbohydrate—Lectin Interactions in Infectious Disease

  • Nathan Sharon
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 408)


For a long time, carbohydrates were believed to serve solely as a source of energy and as structural elements, and to lack biological activity. They were therefore considered as dull molecules lacking the glamor of the other major cell constituents, the proteins and nucleic acids. This attitude started to change, albeit slowly, around 1970. An early indication for the change can be found in the book written by me some 20 years ago, where I stated that “ carbohydrates are ideally suited for the formation of specificity determinants that may be recognized by complementary structures, presumably proteins, on other cells or macromolecules” (Sharon, 1975). This modern view of carbohydrates has now become widely accepted. Thus, the recently published 4th edition of the popular biochemistry textbook by Stryer, (1995) states that “ carbohydrate units on cell surfaces play key roles in cell-cell recognition processes” and that “ carbohydrate-binding proteins called lectins mediate many biological recognition processes”.


Entamoeba Histolytica Biological Recognition Mannose Macrophage Receptor Surface Lectin Mannose Specific Lectin 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Sharon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Membrane Research and BiophysicsThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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