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Biochem J. 2006 May 1;395(3):629-39.

Dual-function protein in plant defence: seed lectin from Dolichos biflorus (horse gram) exhibits lipoxygenase activity.

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  • 1Department of Protein Chemistry and Technology, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570020, India.


Plant-pathogen interactions play a vital role in developing resistance to pests. Dolichos biflorus (horse gram), a leguminous pulse crop of the subtropics, exhibits amazing defence against attack by pests/pathogens. Investigations to locate the possible source of the indomitable pest resistance of D. biflorus, which is the richest source of LOX (lipoxygenase) activity, have led to a molecule that exhibits LOX-like functions. The LOX-like activity associated with the molecule, identified by its structure and stability to be a tetrameric lectin, was found to be unusual. The evidence for the lectin protein with LOX activity has come from (i) MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization-time-of-flight) MS, (ii) N-terminal sequencing, (iii) partial sequencing of the tryptic fragments of the protein, (iv) amino acid composition, and (v) the presence of an Mn2+ ion. A hydrophobic binding site of the tetrameric lectin, along with the presence of an Mn2+ ion, accounts for the observed LOX like activity. This is the first ever report of a protein exhibiting both haemagglutination and LOX-like activity. The two activities are associated with separate loci on the same protein. LOX activity associated with this molecule adds a new dimension to our understanding of lectin functions. This observation has wide implications for the understanding of plant defence mechanisms against pests and the cellular complexity in plant-pathogen interactions that may lead to the design of transgenics with potential to impart pest resistance to other crops.

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