• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 1973; 70(2): 485–489.
PMCID: PMC433288

Insulin-Like Activity of Concanavalin A and Wheat Germ Agglutinin—Direct Interactions with Insulin Receptors


Concanavalin A and wheat germ agglutinin are as effective as insulin in enhancing the rate of glucose transport and in inhibiting epinephrine-stimulated lipolysis in isolated adipocytes. These lectins, also like insulin, inhibit basal as well as epinephrine-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity of membranes obtained from homogenates of fat cells. Low concentrations of wheat germ agglutinin enhance the specific binding of insulin to receptors of fat cells and liver membranes. Higher concentrations of this plant lectin, as well as of concanavalin A, competitively displace the binding of insulin to receptors in these tissues. These effects are equally apparent in insulin-binding proteins solubilized from membranes, indicating that the plant lectins interact directly with insulin receptors. All of the effects observed with the plant lectins are reversed by simple sugars that bind specifically to these plant proteins. Agarose derivatives of the plant lectins effectively adsorb solubilized insulin-binding proteins, and these can be eluted with buffers containing specific simple sugars. The possible implications of these findings to certain biological properties (mitogenicity) of these lectins and to the mechanism of action of other growth-promoting substances are considered.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (979K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Powell AE, Leon MA. Reversible interaction of human lymphocytes with the mitogen concanavalin A. Exp Cell Res. 1970 Oct;62(2):315–325. [PubMed]
  • Novogrodsky A, Katchalski E. Lymphocyte transformation induced by concanavalin A and its reversion by methyl-alpha-D-mannopyranoside. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1971 Jan 28;228(2):579–583. [PubMed]
  • Berlin RD. Effect of concanavalin A on phagocytosis. Nat New Biol. 1972 Jan 12;235(54):44–45. [PubMed]
  • Yahara I, Edelman GM. Restriction of the mobility of lymphocyte immunoglobulin receptors by concanavalin A. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Mar;69(3):608–612. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Affinity chromatography and purification of the insulin receptor of liver cell membranes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 May;69(5):1277–1281. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Isolation of the insulin receptor of liver and fat-cell membranes (detergent-solubilized-( 125 I)insulin-polyethylene glycol precipitation-sephadex). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Feb;69(2):318–322. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Properties of the insulin receptor of isolated fat cell membranes. J Biol Chem. 1971 Dec 10;246(23):7265–7274. [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Insulin--receptor interactions in adipose tissue cells: direct measurement and properties. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1971 Jun;68(6):1264–1268. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • RYLEY JF. Studies on the metabolism of the protozoa. 4. Metabolism of the parasitic flagellate Strigomonas oncopelti. Biochem J. 1955 Mar;59(3):353–361. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Illiano G, Cuatrecasas P. Modulation of adenylate cyclase activity in liver and fat cell membranes by insulin. Science. 1972 Feb 25;175(4024):906–908. [PubMed]
  • Pohl SL, Birnbaumer L, Rodbell M. The glucagon-sensitive adenyl cyclase system in plasma membranes of rat liver. I. Properties. J Biol Chem. 1971 Mar 25;246(6):1849–1856. [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Protein purification by affinity chromatography. Derivatizations of agarose and polyacrylamide beads. J Biol Chem. 1970 Jun;245(12):3059–3065. [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P, Parikh I. Adsorbents for affinity chromatography. Use of N-hydroxysuccinimide esters of agarose. Biochemistry. 1972 Jun 6;11(12):2291–2299. [PubMed]
  • Cutrecasas P. Perturbation of the insulin receptor of isolated fat cells with proteolytic enzymes. Direct measurement of insulin-receptor interactions. J Biol Chem. 1971 Nov;246(21):6522–6531. [PubMed]
  • White AA, Zenser TV. Separation of cyclic 3',5'-nucleoside monophosphates from other nucleotides on aluminum oxide columns. Application to the assay of adenyl cyclase and guanyl cyclase. Anal Biochem. 1971 Jun;41(2):372–396. [PubMed]
  • Ramachandran J. A new simple method for separation of adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate from other nucleotides and its use in the assay of adenyl cyclase. Anal Biochem. 1971 Sep;43(1):227–239. [PubMed]
  • Hepp KD, Renner R. Insulin action on the adenyl cyclase system: Antagonism to activation by lipolytic hormones. FEBS Lett. 1972 Feb 1;20(2):191–194. [PubMed]
  • Cuatrecasas P. Properties of the insulin receptor isolated from liver and fat cell membranes. J Biol Chem. 1972 Apr 10;247(7):1980–1991. [PubMed]
  • Edelman GM, Cunningham BA, Reeke GN, Jr, Becker JW, Waxdal MJ, Wang JL. The covalent and three-dimensional structure of concanavalin A. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Sep;69(9):2580–2584. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Krug U, Krug F, Cuatrecasas P. Emergence of insulin receptors on human lymphocytes during in vitro transformation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Sep;69(9):2604–2608. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Oka T, Topper YJ. Insulin-sepharose and the dynamics of insulin action. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1971 Sep;68(9):2066–2068. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hershko A, Mamont P, Shields R, Tomkins GM. "Pleiotypic response". Nat New Biol. 1971 Aug;232(33):206–211. [PubMed]
  • Hintz RL, Clemmons DR, Underwood LE, Van Wyk JJ. Competitive binding of somatomedin to the insulin receptors of adipocytes, chondrocytes, and liver membranes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Aug;69(8):2351–2353. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Butcher RW, Sneyd JG, Park CR, Sutherland EW., Jr Effect of insulin on adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate in the rat epididymal fat pad. J Biol Chem. 1966 Apr 10;241(7):1651–1653. [PubMed]
  • Smith JW, Steiner AL, Parker CW. Human lymphocytic metabolism. Effects of cyclic and noncyclic nucleotides on stimulation by phytohemagglutinin. J Clin Invest. 1971 Feb;50(2):442–448. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Majerus PW, Brodie GN. The binding of phytohemagglutinins to human platelet plasma membranes. J Biol Chem. 1972 Jul 10;247(13):4253–4257. [PubMed]
  • Makman MH. Conditions leading to enhanced response to glucagon, epinephrine, or prostaglandins by adenylate cyclase of normal and malignant cultured cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1971 Sep;68(9):2127–2130. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hsie AW, Jones C, Puck TT. Further changes in differentiation state accompanying the conversion of Chinese hamster cells of fibroblastic form by dibutyryl adenosine cyclic 3':5'-monophosphate and hormones. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1971 Jul;68(7):1648–1652. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lockwood DH, Lipsky JJ, Meronk F, Jr, East LE. Actions of polyamines on lipid and glucose metabolism of fat cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1971 Aug 6;44(3):601–607. [PubMed]
  • Minemura T, Crofford OB. Insulin-receptor interaction in isolated fat cells. I. The insulin-like properties of p-chloromercuribenzene sulfonic acid. J Biol Chem. 1969 Oct 10;244(19):5181–5188. [PubMed]
  • Kuo JF. Stimulation of glucose utilization and inhibition of lipolysis by polyene antibiotics in isolated adipose cells. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1968 Sep 20;127(1):406–412. [PubMed]
  • Ho RJ, Jeanrenaud B. Insulin-like action of ouabain. I. Effect on carbohydrate metabolism. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1967 Aug 8;144(1):61–73. [PubMed]
  • Rodbell M. Metabolism of isolated fat cells. II. The similar effects of phospholipase C (Clostridium perfringens alpha toxin) and of insulin on glucose and amino acid metabolism. J Biol Chem. 1966 Jan 10;241(1):130–139. [PubMed]
  • Blecher M. Effects of insulin and phospholipase A on glucose transport across the plasma membrane of free adipose cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1967 Jun 6;137(3):557–571. [PubMed]
  • Kuo JF, Dill IK, Holmlund CE. Comparison of the effects of Bacillus subtilis protease, type 8 (subtilopeptidase A), and insulin on isolated adipose cells. J Biol Chem. 1967 Aug 25;242(16):3659–3664. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...