Carbohydrate-binding specificity of the daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) and amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybr.) bulb lectins

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1990 Jun;279(2):298-304. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(90)90495-k.


The carbohydrate binding specificity of the daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus; NPA) and amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybr.; HHA) lectins, isolated from extracts of their bulbs by affinity chromatography on immobilized mannose, was studied by quantitative precipitation, sugar hapten inhibition, and affinity chromatography on the immobilized lectins. These lectins gave strong precipitation reactions with several yeast mannans, but did not precipitate with alpha-D-glucans (e.g., dextrans and glycogen). Interestingly, both lectins reacted strongly with yeast galactomannans having multiple nonreducing terminal alpha-D-galactosyl groups, a synthetic linear alpha-1,6-mannan, and an alpha-1,3-mannan (DP = 30). Treatment of the linear alpha-1,3-mannan with periodate, resulting in oxidation of the terminal, nonreducing mannosyl group, did not reduce its reactivity with NPA or HHA. Taken together, these observations suggest that NPA and HHA react not only with terminal but also with internal alpha-D-mannosyl residues. Sugar hapten inhibition studies showed these lectins to possess the greatest specific activity for alpha-D-mannosyl units whereas D-Glc and D-GlcNAc did not inhibit either lectin precipitation system. Of the oligosaccharides tested, the best inhibitor of NPA interaction was alpha-1,6-linked mannotriose, which was twice as good an inhibitor as Man alpha 1,6Man alpha-O-Me and 10 times better than methyl alpha-D-mannoside. On the other hand, oligosaccharides containing either 1,3- or 1,6-linked mannosyl units were good inhibitors of the HHA-mannan precipitation system (6- to 20-fold more active than D-Man). These results indicate that both lectins appear to possess an extended binding site(s) complementary to at least three 1,6-linked alpha-mannosyl units. Various glycosylasparagine glycopeptides which contain alpha-1,6-Man units were retarded on the immobilized NPA column. On the other hand, those containing either alpha-1,3- or alpha-1,6-mannosyl residues were retarded on the immobilized HHA column; Man5-GlcNAc2-Asn [containing two Man alpha 1,3(Man alpha 1,6) units] bound to the HHA column. On the contrary, glycopeptides with hybrid type glycan chains were not retarded on either column. These two new lectins which differ in their fine sugar binding specificity from each other, and also from the snowdrop lectin, should prove to be useful probes for the detection and preliminary characterization of glycoconjugates on cell surfaces and in solution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Binding, Competitive
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Mannans / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Monosaccharides / metabolism
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Plant Lectins
  • Plants


  • Lectins
  • Mannans
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Plant Lectins