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Methods Enzymol. 2010;480:141-50. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(10)80007-2.

Biotoxicity assays for fruiting body lectins and other cytoplasmic proteins.

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Institute of Microbiology, Department of Biology, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


Recent studies suggest that a specific class of fungal lectins, commonly referred to as fruiting body lectins, play a role as effector molecules in the defense of fungi against predators and parasites. Hallmarks of these fungal lectins are their specific expression in reproductive structures, fruiting bodies, and/or sclerotia and their synthesis on free ribosomes in the cytoplasm. Fruiting body lectins are released upon damage of the fungal cell and bind to specific carbohydrate structures of predators and parasites, which leads to deterrence, inhibition of growth, and development or even killing of these organisms. Here, we describe assays to assess the toxicity of such lectins and other cytoplasmic proteins toward three different model organisms: the insect Aedes aegypti, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii. All three assays are based on heterologous expression of the examined proteins in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli and feeding of these recombinant bacteria to omnivorous and bacterivorous organisms.

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