Isolation and characterization of a galactose binding lectin with insulinomimetic activities. From the seeds of the bitter gourd Momordica charantia (Family Cucurbitaceae)

Int J Pept Protein Res. 1986 Aug;28(2):163-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3011.1986.tb03243.x.


A galactose binding lectin was isolated from the seeds of the bitter gourd Momordica charantia by delipidation with petroleum ether, extraction with phosphate buffered saline, ammonium sulfate precipitation and affinity chromatography on lactogel. The lectin had a molecular weight of 124,000 and approximately 5% carbohydrate content. The molecular weights of the individual subunits were 37,000, 35,000 and 33,000. The lectin exhibited potent hemagglutinating activity. In addition, it demonstrated antilipolytic and lipogenic activities in isolated rat adipocytes although it did not possess intrinsic lipolytic activity. The antilipolytic activity was susceptible to destruction by heat, trypsin, chymotrypsin, glutathione and galactose, indicating that the integrity of the protein moiety, the disulfide linkages, and galactose, which is the sugar specifically bound by the lectin, all play an important role in interaction with the adipocyte leading to an expression of this insulin-like activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Drug Stability
  • Galectins
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hemagglutination / drug effects
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Hemagglutinins / isolation & purification*
  • Hemagglutinins / pharmacology
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Insulin* / pharmacology
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Monosaccharides / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Species Specificity


  • Galectins
  • Hemagglutinins
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Monosaccharides
  • Glucose