This volume surveys the chemistry, biochemistry, biosynthesis, metabolism and pharmacological properties of lectins. Lectins, which are most commonly found in plants, are widespread natural products with striking biological activities. Their specific ability to recognise and bind to simple or complex saccharides facilitates their role as effective information protein molecules. As agents of cell-to-cell recognition, lectins promote symbiosis between plants and specific nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria. As natural defensive molecules, they can protect plants against predators such as bacteria, fungi and insects. As part of our diet, lectins are powerful exogenous growth factors in the small intestine and influence our health, the digestive function and the bacterial ecology of the alimentary tract. Lectins are also important research tools in preparative biochemistry and cell science. After a chemically orientated first chapter dealing with specificity and a second chapter on structure, in the rest of the book lectins are looked at from a biological point of view.
Their involvement in metabolism and biosynthesis, in distribution and localisation in plant tissues and their role in interactions with the outside world are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. The last two chapters deal with the effects of lectins on various cells of the body including blood, gut and nerve cells, with particular emphasis on medical, nutritional and general biological aspects.
Series: Chemistry and Pharmacology of Natural Products
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 28th February 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.57