Lectins are ubiquitous proteins with the ability to induce cell agglutination and, mediate cellular and molecular recognition processes in a variety of biological interactions. Fungi display exquisite specificity for target tissues and attach to host glycoconjugates via these sugar-binding proteins. Although only few reports are available on lectin activity of yeasts, these sugar binding proteins have been embraced for their role in cell flocculation, a commercially beneficial property, that simplifies downstream recovery operations in yeast fermentations. The lectins bind to cell wall mannans of the neighboring cells via hydrogen bonds leading to the formation of cell aggregates which get interrupted in the presence of specific sugars. Attachment of pathogenic yeasts to host cell surface is also a consequence of lectin-mediated recognition process. This review provides a brief overview of yeast lectins, with an insight to lectin-mediated cellular recognition phenomenon in yeasts.
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