Lectins (hemagglutinins) are defined as sugar-binding proteins or glycoproteins with various biological activities. A 60 kDa dimeric hemagglutinin with a blocked N-terminus was isolated in large yield (190 mg/60 g) from the common edible bean Phaseolus vulgaris cv. Hokkaido large pinto bean. Its hemagglutinating, antifungal, and antitumor activities as well as the effects of carbohydrate and metal ions on its hemagglutinating activity were examined. It inhibited the proliferation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (CNE2), human breast cancer (MCF7), and hepatoma (HepG2) cells. The IC50 values toward HepG2, MCF7, and CNE2 cells after treatment for 48 h were 8.1, 6.07, and 7.49 μM, respectively, which were relatively low among lectins of different P. vulgaris cultivars. From the pinto beans, a 10888 Da antifungal peptide with similarity to plant defensins as revealed by mass spectroscopic analysis was also isolated with a yield of 3.2 mg of proteins from 60 g of beans. The large defensin was capable of inhibiting mycelial growth in Mycosphaerella arachidicola, Setosphaeria turcica, Bipolaris maydis, and Fusarium oxysporum but not in Valsa mali.
Keywords: antifungal; antiproliferative; defensin; hemagglutinin.